Dear Painting Friends Worldwide,
Have you ever noticed that you are afraid of what you also most fervently desire? It seems illogical but true. I see it in myself and other painting participants all the time. Here is an example:
In the beginning of each workshop I have a simple but disarming format for people to introduce themselves. With these instructions, “Say the first uninhibited words that come out of your mouth”, I tell them: “First say your true name (it can be different from your everyday name)”. Next: say, “My greatest wish for this painting retreat is ……” Last: say, “My greatest fear in this painting retreat is…….”( if you are aware of a fear.)
OUR HERO’S JOURNEY
In the most resent painting retreat, when I introduced myself, I spontaneously said, “My greatest desire for this retreat is to feel pure Love streaming from me toward my self, my painting and to others”. To my surprise I then said, “My greatest fear is Love”, feeling tears well up. You could feel the room shift a notch deeper.
In other workshops, when I and others have said our greatest desire was “to be fully present”, or “in ecstatic creative flow”, or “brake through my creative blocks for the rest of my life”, …. “full connection with Source,” …“uninhibited creative flow,”…. on and on, …. often we realize that we are most fearful of these experiences which we most yearn for.
When we are painting the first few hours, the first day or two, I can sense in some participants resistance, block, inhibition. There is a wall, a death, a despair, great uneasiness, a muddy mess, tears, swearing, images covered over in black or other colors, disconnection, jumbled chaos,... sometimes nausea, a blooming cold, fever, headache. “Keep Painting.” Stay with it. Welcome the dis- ease, the painful truths and visions. Allow the tribe to hold you and your paining. The only way around the fear is to go through it. It is all just energy that needs to be expressed, needs to be witnessed.
And then in the surrender to the moment, surrender to what feels like certain immobility, through the full expression of the worst fear displayed, full emotions felt and released, there is an opening, and the tide recedes exposing the magic sea floor.
Why do so many of us have these fears of our flowing blissful creativity, our natural birthright?. Why do we insist on pain over pleasure ? …. So much so that we require much therapy, medical assistance, self help books,... remedial workshops, spiritual renewal, cults … on and on? Why do we need Painting From The Source®?
In the past one hundred years so many Buddhist Monks and Hindu Guru’s from the East have come to the needy Western to help us “seekers of liberation.” After years of teaching meditation, Buddhism, yoga and the like, these wise teachers from more indigenous, closer to earth cultures notice and comment. “You Westerners are not so easy to help. You westerners seem more comfortable with pain and struggle than with pleasure and ease.” Funny thing, yes
But why might this be? Well you know there is plenty in our upbringing, history, and our culture that makes us so resistant (fearful) of ease and pleasure. I mean ease, fun and pleasure / bliss with out the aid of substances, technical devices, co-dependent merging and expectation of sexual encounter. …Ease and pleasure when we are alone with our selves with no distractions. I mean feel uninhibited creative flow.
Yes, dogmatic religions, strict work ethic, sin of pride, sexual shame and guilt, unnatural birth and infant feeding practices, uncreative soulless regimental childhood education, generational childhood abuse, soul deadening focus on making money, accumulation and competition, waging wars, distance from and control over nature,… unhealthy eating and medical practices, alienation from our indigenous roots,… from spirit,… Just to name a few.
Here is one simple example practiced in our culture for the past 100 years or so (which hopefully is changing). Starting at birth, we are unnaturally born in hospitals. Violence is our first experience, pulled from our mothers bodies in a cold sterile room, umbilical cord cut too soon, held upside down and smacked on the rear to get us breathing, fingers routinely jammed in our mouth to clear out mucus, and for our male children the foreskin painfully cut off their penis’s. Then, separated from our mothers, alone in a nursery, often fed cows milk from glass bottles.
And guess what? We survived this and so many more indignities. So the theory is that our associative brains connect being in pain and struggle with survival. This is the limbic brain, the primitive reptilian brain that behaves on instinct and reacts like a reflex. It cannot be reasoned with.
When trauma is intolerable our mind separates from our bodies to protect us or some sadly go mad,… and as we know from returning war vets, and abuse survivors, the experience does not disappear unless there is healing on the deepest spiritual level with a lot of Love. Talking Therapy can only go so far. Behavior modification can only go so far. Buddhist teachings and yoga can only go so far. New age self help can only go so far.
This is where painting From the Source ® comes in. To come back home to our bodies we must relive a piece of the trauma in bearable proportion (like how homeopathy works), in a safe environment surrounded by a loving tribe. . But this can be scary and habitually avoided. You don’t want to relive the pain and here comes the real dilemma …. I have always managed to survive with the pain, but who will I be with out this old accustomed campaign? with out my accustomed identity, my story? Here is the fear of free fall. … the total unknown…. now that is scary. Who said this path does not require courage? It is the path of the “noble soul.” Does this call to you?
The healing must happen on the deepest loving spiritual level. Painting from the Source incorporates nonverbal connection to nonverbal experiences. Our paintings come from another place beyond just the personal unconscious - the Source, the guide of our souls. Immersing your self in process oriented arts with a group of seekers is a form of Spiritual Renewal and the ancient path I know to transformation. We speak to our paintings and we allow them to speak back to use. The beings in our paintings often say “I have always been here and I have been waiting for you to seek me for such a long time.” We allow our paintings to borrow our bodies and move and sound through us. We get goose bumps. We immerse ourselves in ritual Shaman earth based practice, we are honest and we love. People say,” I have never experienced anything as deep, moving, real and beautiful in my life.” For me it is more empowering than using psychedelics. We do it naturally, go at our own pace, no substance necessary.
To tell you the truth, I don’t know how it works. But it works, and I have my theories. For one thing when people actually experience spirit in their bodies and then they see the magnificence they channeled onto paper with no plan, no painting lessons and they hear it speak to them of long forgotten revelations, some thing shifts in the mind and body. And they are witnessed by adoring tribe mates. They know in their bones that there is more than meets the eye. They are loved and connected, and the universe is basically supportive.
PFTS is a way to express the restrictions - to feel the connection to source. … and in so doing also allow the beauty so we can come home to the bliss that is our birthright.