After I consciously invited divine light; it simply happened.
I began to see peace as far as my eye could see and beyond it.
I breathed quietly and absorbed what I now know was the here and now.
Although when I painted this work I did not know it, the art signaled a turn in understanding my life and my path. It is decidedly different from the abstract works I had been creating for the past decade where I was guided to play with colors, textures and random shapes to explore thoughts, beliefs, actions and emotions and grow from the process.
I liked the finished canvas, yet I set it aside as an interesting event, trusting that in time, I would understand its purpose.
Meanwhile, the past holidays yielded all sorts of interesting commissions along with a nasty fall. Sustaining a concussion, all I could do is lick my wounds while embellishing several orders for Door Protector prints while chanting the mantras.
One morning, and after nearly four months of the art sitting in the corner of my bedroom I was drawn to contemplate it. I admitted that the concussion-induced confusion ushered in mostly positive outcomes. Finances were good, I received high praise for my new works, was invited to stage a successful solo exhibit and I felt buoyant. Most interactions with others where rewarding and I was even able to release the painful grip that an important relationship had on me trusting that in time, I would be able to understand the gift embedded in the difficulties I have long experienced with it.
On balance, I saw that I fulfilled my intention for last year; to embrace Grace and thus be at peace with what is, knowing that what unfolds in my life is what I need at the moment without guilt, regret, blame, anger, or despair.
And the painting vividly reflects it. There is an open and clear sky. Long vistas and new growth are evident in the landscape and serenity breeds trust. I know that even if on some mornings, heavy clouds obscure the sun; the fiery celestial body is still there shining brightly. If I am patient, after a storm I will see it in all its glory.
The images also encouraged me to ask what was after Embracing Grace. It presented me with the opportunity to hang in the quiet and fertile void of an open sky-mind clothed in resilient faith.
It was then that I consciously invited divine light and it simply happened.
I began to see peace as far as my eye could see and beyond it.
I breathed quietly and absorbed what I now know was the here and now.
When I first heard that physical pain was an opportunity to bring about awareness and heal a part of my life’s journey, I thought… great, bring it on!
When it was suggested that the pain may go away when I acknowledged the lesson and embraced its role in helping me be whole, I said…that’s easy. I meditate regularly, I fix it!
When I understood that what came up for healing, was a chapter of my life I already deemed “complete”; I was not surprised!
When I experienced sustained and debilitating pain, I acknowledged that embracing and integrating the spiritual lesson may take longer and it may require reviewing the prior layer.
When I considered that seeking relief from the outside may be a band-aid, I realized that it could offer the temporary space I needed for clarity.
Sitting in front of my Door Protector, I pondered on the intention I put forth for this year: to experience Divine Light.
I chanted the mantra and then spent time embellishing prints I had sold over the holidays. I went to acupuncture, reflexology and chiropractic and I stretched my sore right heel while tapping.
I had known for quite a while that my symptoms were those of Plantar Fasciitis but I chose to ignore them. I suspected the emotional connection and ignored that too.
Now I could no longer do so.
The fibrous tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes and supports the arch of the foot is a ligament called fascia. It is the feet’s “shock absorber” that holds all the parts together and keeps them strong and functioning optimally. If we strain our plantar fascia, this ligament gets weak, swollen and inflamed, causing the heel or the bottom of the foot to hurt when standing or walking.
Michael J. Lincoln Ph.D., a pioneer in the field of healing emotional wounds by integrating behavioral and psychoanalytic approaches has done extensive research on the role of emotions in physical trauma. In his seminal book, Messages from the Body, Dr Lincoln describes life situations that correlate with the symptomatology of Plantar Fasciitis.
For example, when we become the shock absorber for anybody else’s pain, or when we feel responsible for keeping things together at home or at work, we are often tired, burdened and our calves’ muscles contract. When we don’t feel supported or valued, or when we feel frustrated and stuck in a relationship or life situation; the ligament in the feet, the mechanism that supports us gets tight, causing tiny tears that lead to pain and swelling.
“The emotional component of plantar fasciitis in the right foot involves having deep conflicts over how to get support, as well as concerns about relationships and commitment. For the left foot, it’s about being handicapped with vulnerability issues, unwilling to receive support, and refusing to allow others to be caretakers”, says RN and Guided Imagery Practitioner, Maureen Minnehan Jones.
I knew that I long experienced frustration and alienation with some very important relationships. I often feel stuck so I push the pain of helplessness deep inside where it burrows and seethes. Thus I had no trouble seeing that my feet, which in Feng Shui knowledge correspond to the energy of family and ancestry, were offering me a chance to revisit how I think about my role in these liaisons and change my mind pattern to one that allows for receiving support, assistance and encouragement from all kinds of people and situations, including self-love and forgiveness.
What better way to start changing these particular malfunctioning mind patterns than experiencing Divine Light?
Last weekend I entered the studio for the first time since I slipped on black ice and sustained a concussion in late December. I meditated, I chanted, I cleaned surfaces, vacuumed the floor and organized materials and then, I unwrapped a new canvas.
Surrendering to the pristine surface, I consciously invited Divine Light to fully enter it as if this was the Earth and asked that this light weave its brilliance and energy into my whole being. I willingly became light’s living vessel and the images appeared easily and joyfully.
A storm was raging outdoors and in my studio; a huge transformation was taking place. I felt strong, grounded, peaceful and loved, as if the soul of the earth had taken hold of my heart.
It had and there it merged with Heaven’s light.
The next day I painted for 8 more hours without pain.
I still have more mind-shifting to do, but I am in the game and I am patiently moving. While I do my exercises, radiance flows into me and it fills me with joy and love. Panting itself is a very loving practice. When I am creating there is no pain and no thinking. In the studio I feel profoundly loved and cared for. What I also enjoy, is that when I meditate with it afterwards, the art provides me with tools to see a life situation anew and suggests ways to move through the lesson in a positive and life affirming manner.
The art is conceived in love and henceforth it broadcasts love. Those who own my artworks confirm this assertion.
A Storm of Divine Light depicts joyous love and emits this powerful vibration. It will thus touch lives and effect meaningful changes wherever it hangs.
This post is a reprint from the original posted a year ago. It is one of my favorite paintings and posts because of the powerful learning I received from working on the art and the writing. Read on and may you also learn to simply love yourself as never before!!!
Seating on the cushion, pondering on love, I soon uncovered some old wounds having a lively party with my “small self”. The revelry festering in the shadows soon became loud enough for me to notice and I began squirming on the cushion. I became snippy, short-tempered, and felt very hungry; all clear signs that I needed a bright light to crash the festivities and dance instead of eating.
I soon engaged with a confused little girl who was still playing with the remnants of long ago events that laden with emotional charge, were assigned a “not-good-enough” meaning. That little girl was stuck in a time capsule within the recesses of my mind and continued to interfere with all my relationships, but most of all, it deeply affected my relationship with myself.
Instead of becoming annoyed and impatient I went into the studio and began to paint as if the canvas was the bright light to shine in on the shadows. A heavy mixture of gold, silver and white paint became the undercoat. Yet gazing through the lustered paint I felt unable to hear my heart’s voice and ended the first session sponging and scraping a soft turquoise blue color.
Over the next few days I sat with the “little child who needed love” and patiently reassured her. I needed time to muster courage and forgive my adult self who “messed up” the various roles I was called to play and be ready to take charge of my life, own my wisdom, gifts and talents. I couldn’t lather glitter over it.
Each painting session allowed me time to connect to my heart center; my authentic self. The light emanating from the colors and materials invited a door to forgiveness, self-compassion and acceptance to crack open. This door is called “Maitri”, the Sanskrit word for unconditional love for oneself, enabling us to receive love and practice compassion.
As I knifed in modeling paste, the stylized image of two fully opened peonies and an unopened bud showed up. In Feng Shui practice, these gorgeous flowers are a metaphor for female beauty and the ability to bear offspring. Its delicious scent is a symbol for the sweetness of pure love, nobility, opulence and high value. When in full bloom, peonies symbolize peace and harmony. As I applied pink, purple and magenta acrylic to the hardened plaster-like surface, I practiced loving and accepting myself now.
On some days, I was only able to place a dab or two of color on the flowers….Not easy to say I love you to me. On the last day, I sat for nearly two hours in front of the canvas until tears began to flow and my heart expanded. The door now swung fully open to a rush of joyous enthusiasm and I surrounded the flowers with a soft yellow tint to help them glow while soft willowy ribbons, like those of a wedding bouquet appeared.
The flowing ribbons became a metaphor for releasing attachment to old and crippling thoughts, allowing love to blossom as fully and openly as peonies. Through creating Simply Love I healed the past and witnessed the loving, courageous and free ME bloom.
The completed painting is a banner for Valentine’s Day. It is also an excellent Feng Shui adjustment for the Relationship area, to boost peace and harmony within the family, enhance a relationship, or attract a new one, or to boost employee morale and interactions within a business.
The original has been purchased by a talented art lover and consistent supporter. But limited edition giclee reproductions are still available to assure the presence of Simply Love in your life, a pre-requisite to experience it in all its dimensions.
I accepted this commission with much excitement from a client who had added a room in her home to be her new office. She asked me to use the colors and the inspiration from a painting of a difference size she had seen on my website. I did not know that in completing the painting, we would both learn to walk on stormy seas!
You know that I paint intuitively by focusing on the client’s needs; those spoken and those whispered by Spirit as it guides my hand. The acrylic pouring process used in this art is rather unpredictable and somewhat difficult to control. Trust tends to be the best approach to creating with the technique and it easily dovetails with my painting mindset.
It turned out that I wasn’t in a trusting state of mind.
The projected 2 to 3 weeks’ timeline took nearly 8 weeks, three canvases, a freak accident and lots of patience from the artist and the client.
First I snagged the last canvas locally available in the requested size and I was psyched. Next I sat in meditation. I waited; waited some more and I felt very conflicted.
Thoughts of my client danced in my head. I knew her to be a successful marketing guru and a warm and caring individual who did not have an easy relationship with abstract art or with spiritually guided works. I also knew that she loved my art, appreciated my creativity, had attended my classes and ordered this painting based on an abstract one she saw on my website.
With my ego fully in charge, doubts and fear popped up. By mid-December, the painting that I completed reflected anger and frustration. My ego wanted to “fix it” and I neglected to respect the truth of my work.
I did not entertain that this painting was not unlike the Door Protectors I create or the spiritually conceived art I paint when I consciously agree to be a channel for the creations that the Universe sends me. And I rejected the implication that the anger and frustration I painted was channeled from the client.
I later found out that it had!
The day before New Year’s, and with a car packed for a holiday trip, I slipped on black ice just outside my house, needed 4 staples on my scalp and was diagnosed with a concussion. As I laid on my bed that night, I recognized that I allowed my mind run the show.
As I healed, I considered that my client may have experienced the emotions now imprinted in the first painting and with limited use of my thinking faculties; I went about mending us both through another painting.
In the weeks that followed, I could not help but practice letting the ego-mind rest and recede to be the servant it’s meant to be. I went back to relying on the most trusting source of truth; the heart-mind. In between naps, I chanted, I prayed, I contemplated and did simple, mindless tasks.
I was also guided to start another painting, as the second one did not reflect the original model.
One morning I went into the studio, turned up the volume on a musical version of the Wish Granting Jewel mantra I chant and write on the Door Protectors and became a vessel for Divine Will. As I aligned with higher guidance I felt balanced, whole and filled with Light and Love and began to prepare the paints without expectations. I did not look at the sample, I simply allowed Light and Love to illuminate and guide my actions.
I called this final painting I Can Walk on Stormy Seas, after the second line in the refrain of You Raise Me Up, a song beautifully performed by Josh Groban, music written by Rolf Lovland with lyrics by Brendan Graham. It certainly reflected the process of creating the commission.
When I delivered the painting and shared the process with the client, she confirmed that prior to my accident, she had experienced anger and frustration precisely around the time I started creating her artwork. In turn, I shared with her how I surrendered to the healing process: I released my grip on trying to complete what was not ready. I became still and as expressed in the song’s lyrics; by just “waiting in the silence” I created an opening. I became a passage for Spirit to come and “sit awhile with me”.
In the end, I created a tool for us both to give up on the anger, forgive ourselves and the source of frustration and come, at any time “when [our] hearts burdened be”, to trust that Spirit will raise us up to walk on stormy Seas.
I am so grateful for my clients, my friends, my students, my neighbors and my family who reached out to help me heal with Reiki treatments, chiropractic care, prayers, texts, calls, love and laughter.
With all this help I Can Walk on Stormy Seas to be “more than I can be”!
It started as a question…What is after “embracing grace”?
And as I made this query the centerpiece of my meditation practice of the past few weeks, events and circumstances appeared gently leading me to answers.
In early December, I was invited to participate in a “super full moon” celebration that included time for introspective journeying and deep contemplation. That night the moon appeared very large as it orbited closest to Earth and this phenomenon was said to cause geophysical stress.
Mystics termed it an extremely powerful celestial event, occurring in the sign of Gemini with the planet Mercury beginning a long period of retrograde movement.
The conjunction was about hyper-illuminating the truth, especially in the area of communications, highlighting motives and intentions. Mercury starting a retrograde cycle would be particularly helpful in noticing when someone was holding back the truth or being purposely deceitful.
But this alignment was also a good time to ask important life questions, for the answers could be revealed under the bright moonlight and be held to the scrutiny of our past actions and beliefs.
That night I reflected on my chosen theme for this year; learning to embrace what came my way while monitoring how I perceived opportunities, endings and beginnings in many areas of my life. I became aware that I was no longer devastated when I expected strawberries and got lemons. In fact, I tasted the most amazing lemonades! When I was in pain, I accepted it yet focused on what I was learning from the suffering. I experienced much joy while adventurously unwrapped unexpected “gifts”.
If Embracing Grace was about deepening my relationship with Spirit and being grateful for everything, the super moon introspection implied that Light maybe the theme of my next life cycle.
This weekend I celebrated Chanukah, the festival of Lights with family and close friends. The theme of the super moon was duplicated in many ways, as it again highlighted issues of communication, motivation and intention.
Lighting the candles on the menorah also offered opportunities to bring forth our inner lights, joining with others to further goodness and heal through sharing deep love, sweet gifts, hope and joy.
I ended the weekend with marvelous people, chanting gratefulness to the Indian teacher Anandamayi Ma, the “Great Mother of Love and Light”, and later on vividly encountering Red Tara in my dreams.
Known as the “Mother of all Buddhas”, or the female Buddha in Tibetan Buddhism, Red Tara is the embodiment of Light and Love, reincarnating always as a female and compassionately assisting people in removing difficult obstacles. In fact, her energy appears in times of stress and amidst great social strife.
This morning, as I was completing this card I painted for a very dear friend, I noticed that the flower I depicted had four perfect petals, while the fifth was being pulled away by the wind.
It is said that at birth, Red Tara implants the light of awareness on the minds of certain individuals to awaken during stressful time periods and teach the four qualities of Light: equanimity, compassion, love and joy.
She also awakens collective wisdom so that a society may realize the true nature of reality. Tara shines a bright light on seemingly insurmountable obstacles and offers to swiftly remove them by practicing the four qualities.
Who wants to let the wind take dire difficulties and receive enlightenment by contemplating the flower?
I am offering a free download of this card as a gift to those who wish to practice seeing everyone as divine, to encourage helping anyone without expecting a pay-back, to pledge unconditional love for all beings and to celebrate life without attachments or aversions. Such awareness will render us all strong, beautiful, blissful and useful!
Claim your free card @ Contact, write “Red Tara” in the message box and commit to shine Light everywhere.
How would you like to possess a magical jewel to help you fulfill your most cherished wishes? Well…you can have such jewel, it is not hard to find and although the journey maybe difficult, you don’t have to move from your home to have it!
According to Buddhist iconography, a magical wish-fulfilling stone fell from the stars long ago, and landed in Tibet where the ancient monks identified it as a jewel of amazing spiritual power. They called it Chintamani. Chinta means thought in Sanskrit and mani means stone. Its power to transform people’s lives and communities was considered so great, but so potentially disastrous if misused, that the monks ultimately sent it to the mystical hidden city of Shambhala where it would be guarded by a wrathful-looking deity called Mahakala. Known as the guardian of the Buddhist path of wisdom and compassion (dharma), the deity was said to be able to transform into seventy-five ferocious shapes to truly paralyze those with ignoble intentions.
Chintamani, the wish-fulfilling jewel rests deep within our hearts constantly vibrating Divine Love energy. It is our essential nature; wise, compassionate and courageous. The mind ruled by the heart is kind, ethical, creative and powerful.
It is like an oyster resting peacefully on the ocean’s floor on a bed of plankton; the inside of the shell is an iridescent sheen called nacre. But when any foreign substance penetrates the soft shell, be it a grain of sand or a parasite, the oyster engages in an unusual defense mechanism. It coats the invader with many layers of the iridescent reflective nacre, which over time forms into a hard luminous pearl.
Mahakala fiercely guards the heart’s pure essence and when we behave unethically, when our thoughts are of greed and revenge, when we abscond from responsibility or when we intend harm upon another, the land, the environment and all its inhabitants; our ignoble intentions are met, just like the mollusk’s invaders, with stern lessons that may ultimately lead to transformation into a luminous human.
Mahakala, like all deities is a teacher. All deities mirror qualities we must adopt in order to experience a life of bliss, wholesomeness, and fulfillment. They are also depicted with an array of implements that instruct us in understanding the thoughts and behaviors that keep us from manifesting our most cherished wishes. It behooves us to carefully examine their tools to both practice goodness and to avoid getting encased inside “nacre” and a life of misery.
The “fish” in this watercolor and mixed media painting is a metaphor for humans moving through the water of life with our half-submerged heads, focused mainly on ourselves and our petty needs. We create habits that beget unfulfilling results and are constantly seeking satisfaction outside ourselves. A shiny pebble in the distance (new love, a new house, a new haircut, or whatever) offers temporary happiness that we mistake for eternal joy. When the new brings dissatisfaction, we experience pain and apply old remedies (habits). We do this many, many times until the pain becomes unbearable and we are forced to confront our Mahakala.
We learn to take responsibility for our unconscious behavior, incorrect thinking, and baseless beliefs, when we become conscious and see it all reflected on the “water”; we notice carbon copies of us swimming about being miserable.
While this is indeed a difficult journey, when we change our focus, we are amply rewarded.
As we move from despair to sadness and into compassion, we begin to look inward and discover the jewel; our wise and courageous essential nature; our connection to Spirit. The love and gratefulness we experience comes from having the mettle to focus on the lesson and embrace the pain.
And we transform pain by encasing it in layers of wisdom, courage and compassion. These Chinta create the luminous magic that permeates our existence and all we touch.
Chintamani is the light within fiercely guarded by a awakened heart-mind.
Be a part in changing our pained world. Unroll your amazing spiritual power by purchasing The Light Within.
Every time I create one of these sacred artifacts I call Door Protectors, I marvel at how they affect me and the clients who commissioned it. Over the past 8 years I collected stories ranging from uncovering an illness and healing it, to dramatic career changes. I heard of powerful shifts in relationship status and unexpected moves. I even read that the Door Protector halted years of vandalism and uninvited rodents in a seasonal dwelling. More recently, a client reported that during a devastating hurricane, while the entire neighborhood was flooded, miraculously their home experienced minor damages. Another individual whose apartment unit was below a severely damaged penthouse found that only a couch was affected by the water and debris pouring from above.
Because the creation of the piece is deeply connected to its owners from the moment they think about it or order it. I learned to be patient with the process. I know that when the art is not progressing smoothly, the client is experiencing doubts, setbacks or conflicts. In those times, I simply chant the mantra in the art’s presence and focus on the client until I am guided to make the next move.
Occasionally, if nothing happens for a few weeks, I reach out to the client to identify the issues and reassure them, present options or suggest alternate ways of perceiving the situation. Then the colors, textures, and shapes begin to arrange and unveil themselves until the sacred art is completed and installed.
The art above is no exception.
After the initial burst of action when fiery red appeared on top from a combination of soft-bodied acrylics and acrylic inks, the golden-yellow streak and the rose-colored bottom took shape. But when it came time to write the Wish Granting Jewel mantra, none of the brand new pens I had just purchased worked!
I considered going out to exchange them, thinking that they may be defective, when I heard my phone ping, indicating that a message had arrived. I never answer my phone and it is never in the studio when I paint, but I was moved to read what came through this time and indeed, it was from the client. She wrote that her momentum of positive energy had halted, felt stuck and couldn’t seem to move forward. “It’s like I have no juice in me”, she wrote.
You can imagine that I decided to call her, and after 30 to 40 minutes of listening and providing alternative ways of looking at her situation, also telling her about attempting to write the mantra, but the pens had “no juice”, she laughed heartily, felt complete and at peace.
Without skipping a beat, I picked up the black pen and completed writing. I then added the gold-leaf layer and within 15 minutes, the mantra was perfectly inscribed. Relaying these results to the client was a way of reaffirming the non-physical aspects of our co-creation and Spirit’s intervention leading her to reach out and assisting me in moving the process forward.
A few sessions later, the pair of flying turtles bearing jewels and flanking the mantra appeared and was followed by the client texting me about a dream in where she was in Hawaii looking through her ancestral roots. I then knew that these were the revered Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles known as Honu, symbols of good luck, endurance and long life. In this case, they were identifying themselves as the client’s guardian spirits and were in the art to help her, when lost or confused, to find the way to her inner home; our truest home.
As you can see, I don’t really create the art. The client’s intentions are heard by the Universe and channeled through me into a sacred tool able to keep the person who owns it in her power, and centered in the intrinsic meaning of the mantra’s 12 syllables: OM PAD MO USHNISHA VIMALE HUM PHAT, said to vibrate with the Buddhist Eightfold Path of wholesome living.
Feel free to read more Door Protector stories published throughout the blog and perhaps you will decide to commission your very own artwork. It will be your faithful servant, maybe the perfect mirror you can look at when you are lost or confused to guide you to your inner home, listen to your heart and live life to the fullest. See below, the client’s reaction upon receiving this painting.
As I have learned, a selected print works very well for navigating prescient issues. The personalized art stays with its owners for an entire life, supporting people through each cycle of growth.
You will find available prints, in the Door Protector gallery. They also make great gifts. You are welcome to email me and request a gift certificate for the purpose. If you like to order your very own sacred art, learn more in the Door Protector Purchase information tab.
A while ago, a dear friend visited me over a long weekend, and as it usually happened, we had a great time. We laughed, we danced, and we pranced and truly enjoyed each other. It was magic.
On the days that followed our parting, I could find nothing that could match the joy I experienced.
Eager to continue dwelling in the happiness of those three days, I looked for ways to replicate magic in other friends and other activities.
In focusing on wanting that person and no other, I inflicted misery upon myself.
Seeking to move through the feelings and transform them, I entered the studio and faced a blank canvas.
I didn’t have to look too far or too deep. I had fallen prey to one of the most pernicious obstacles on the spiritual path: Cravings.
In Buddhism these obstacles are called The Five Hindrances- Cravings, Ill Will, Restlessness, Doubt and Spiritual Laziness. The ego is their foremost ally and each unto themselves is capable of making an unbelievable mess of our lives and derail our most cherished dreams.
Cherished is an interesting word.
We crave (cherish) all kinds of things, people, love, objects, lifestyles, ideas, body shape. We live in a society focused on desperately wanting a new toy that we must own now!
On the aftermath of a major disaster, a former president urged us to “go shopping”, while a beer commercial counsels us to “stay thirsty” and millions of people camp outside stores on “Black Friday” to catch the first sales.
Why do we want something so badly yet fail to notice that once that craving is satisfied, we find some other want? Can it be that what we think we crave is simply a thought fueled by a deeper lack?
Seeking to explore the nature of desire, I sprayed gold acrylic on the canvas to create a rarefied background and fashioned a very large and tactile cup in the foreground. The brightly painted cup coated in red enamel looks hand-made as if by a child.
Sitting precariously at the edge of a flimsy netting tablecloth, the pretty object with its contents looks like it can tip at any moment. What oozes out of the cup looks interesting, cute, somewhat odd yet vaguely familiar.
Each of the sinuous shapes project a creamy, dreamy, fluffy, shiny and alluring aura that dares us: Cravings.
As you gaze at the painting, which shapes represent your cravings? Which illusory corner of your mind has given a name and function to your latest acquisition? Where is that ring you cannot do without? Can you find that yummy cake that you must have? The perfect body you so beautifully sculpt at the gym? The lover you want, the…whatever?
The slick and tough enameled wants of today will tip and fall to be discarded when we want what appears as better. What we really desire is happiness, love, and joy and think that these primal feelings will be delivered by something or someone outside of ourselves.
Cravings are a hindrance placing us in a precarious position at the edge of our sanity. They mask a desire we think unattainable on our own, when in truth, we can only get only more of what we feel we already have.
What if on this Thanksgiving holiday, we search inside for what we already have and decide to offer love to others instead of wanting it from others?
Can we notice an additional positive attribute in something we already own?
Can we share the goodness of the present moment with whoever is sitting next to us, and feel richly endowed just by sharing with them the bounty on the table?
Nothing wrong with wishing more. Beware; better and greater only appear when we feel grateful for what is great now.
Will you be happily eating turkey or will it be Tofurky?
I am deeply grateful that my son Adam serves both at the table and even more thankful that we will sharing the day with my grandson Tyler, my sister Diana and her grown children and the our very special and dear life-long friends, the Genslers and their grown children.
When we like a situation or a particular object we associate with pleasure, we can’t imagine having to relinquish it. Being forced to change habitual behaviors we balk, and when we have to let go of a loved one, the pain seems unbearable.
In truth, whenever we are forced to change, most of us fight it with all our might. Letting go requires effort and if I can be blunt, it may even imply faulty imagination skills. Emotions play a big part too. What will it be like on the other side?
It starts with a thought and as the Buddha taught, “with our thoughts we create our world”.
We constantly create mental constructs about how things should unfold in our lives, and often even in someone else’s life. Our point of reference is always a story—thoughts we corralled from incidents that stopped us on our tracks, from hearsay, advertising, movies, family history and that left an imprint known as emotion.
Emotions are physiological experiences, or states of awareness that provide us with information about the world. When in the course of our lives we encounter circumstances that in some way recreate the original incidents, the thoughts get an additional charge and become feelings.
A feeling is our conscious awareness of the emotion itself. Feelings allow us to further solidify the original experience by qualifying it.
Repeated thoughts create beliefs that easily incorporate into our subconscious to form the very core of the stories we live by. When emotional charge is added, feelings become tightly wrapped around this energy mix. It is called pain and it renders us unable to discern what is real and what we made up.
Humans do not like pain. Just take a look at what opioids have caused in our society. From numbness we respond to the world in ways that do not serve the fluid nature of phenomena and miss the opportunity to grow and thrive.
We focus on the pain and miss the lesson!
We sink into fear when a relationship ends by creating a story of blame, either about ourselves or the other. We can’t accept it as good, because we are unable to imagine something better. We wallow in grief when someone we loved dies because we cannot visualize a life without them. We get angry when things don’t go the way we thought they would, and cannot consider that it was our unconscious thinking that attracted that situation to us.
Our attachment to our stories keeps us from living in fulfillment unless we become conscious and learn to relinquish them by identifying the emotion behind what we want to hold on, feel what it elicited, name it and contemplate its validity, and then take the action dictated by our findings.
Unwittingly, that is exactly how this artwork was completed and what I learned in the process. In preparing for an upcoming holiday sale, I wanted to create a realistic landscape. I told myself a story of how easy it would sell, that people are more drawn to realism, and that I should just create a “realistic landscape series”.
In spite of my considerable ability to depict a photo-realistic scene, it wasn’t coming together. As I washed out several portions, several times, until most of the paper was nearly blank, I realized that I was becoming emotionally entangled in making it happen and frustration set in. Soon I witnessed anger rise as I picked up red ink and allowed it to move through the surface in a somewhat random fashion. When I scanned my body to see the results of the emotional charge, I relax my clenched teeth, released the story and surrendered to the present moment.
I then played with the inks and the various tools creating texture and added little white circles and black lines without naming anything. I knew I that I would later learn when contemplating the completed art.
The calmness that ensued after I named the emotion: frustration and anger; gave me the space to redirect my thoughts and notice that the original story compromised my truth…What makes my art worth creating and installed on someone’s wall is the wisdom unveiled in the process of painting without mental constructs. This is what I offer my clients and collectors.
What I learn afterwards in meditation helps me to understand the message and the energy that those who purchase may come to recognize to help them lead more fulfilling lives.
I don’t want to reveal the entire plot, but…Spoiler Alert!
The art taught me about releasing densities in all forms, and offered a preview of what the Golden Void, the consciousness where Divine Presence is most deeply felt looks like. It instructed me about evolving, activating and awakening the higher brain functions. At such level, we understand and experience being Light and possess a fully functioning Light body that spills over our everyday lives. Our mind opens to our spiritual nature and ushers in the next phase of our human evolution on Earth.
This process would be more expedient if we can let go of the stories we created.
So… what do you think the red shapes bobbing about in the foreground represent?
As you ponder, I offer another hint said to have been uttered by the Buddha,
“Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”