I finished up my online painting class with AROUSE. And, honestly, I'm sad to let it go. I will definitely be a part of other classes offered by LilyWheel Slide Studio, because I had such a fabulous experience! In the meantime, I've begun a FREE on-line class offered by Dirty Footprints Studio, called Total Alignment. I'm just beginning by doing the first exercise/invitation, today. I'm very excited about it!
Somehow, somewhere along the lines of my life, I lost the understanding of my own need for creativity and creative expression. With AROUSE, I found it again. I actually found AROUSE, through a Facebook group called Art of Prayer, where I met the facilitator for AROUSE. There, I found a wonderful group of women who were on their own paths to discovery. Some were already professional artists, others were just finding their way (like me). I love my job as adjunct faculty at the local community college and have absolutely no desire to give it up; however, I find my artistic endeavors to be freeing and therapeutic in a deep, self-aware, self-discovery fashion.
I finally have an outlet for all of those horrible feelings of fear and anger and depression that have dogged me for decades. I have a way to get them out of my body and onto paper, to share them with others who are compassionate and understanding, and to be free of them. During the process of initial experimentation with the exercises in AROUSE, I noticed that I felt real physical discomfort in certain areas of my body when I attempted to tap into my creativity. It was almost as if my body had become so closed off that I had to power my way through the process. That hasn't gone away for me....I sometimes continue to feel stiffness in my head and neck and shoulders, or a fullness in my throat. The true benefit of this line of self-education is that I'm AWARE of them, now. I KNOW what it means when my body reacts that way. And, more important, I know how to RELIEVE it.
For me, that relief comes through painting and blogging about it. That's what works for me. The painting alleviates the pressure and the blogging allows me to explore it. It doesn't matter if anyone actually reads the blogs (although, I certainly enjoy comments when they do). Its more about getting it OUT of me. Since I'm trained as a traditional, talk therapist, I recognize the need to purge harsh feelings and thoughts and the benefits that come from doing so. Interesting that, while I spent decades taking on the miseries and secrets of others, I didn't bother to care for my own.
I wish I could articulate the improvement in my day-to-day feeling of serenity, but I'm not that skilled in explanation. Suffice it to say: I am at peace in my own skin and with those around me. Its not constant, but its enduring. I know what to do to bring myself back to balance when I allow situations and circumstances to take me out.
Today's exercise gave me some difficulty. Not the actual breathing exercise, but the painting itself. I became frustrated with the process, several times. I found myself desperately wanting to make the heart at the center of the painting larger, but knowing that I shouldn't.
At the same time I became frustrated, the colors began getting darker and darker, until I had several sections of black. When I realized what was happening, I put my brushes down. At first, I tried to fight through it. That didn't help.
My lesson for today: Sometimes, you have to put it down and walk away. Its not always the right time.
I paint on Tuesdays and Thursdays, because I've carved out time in my schedule to do so. That's when my schedule allows. I spend other time, as I'm able, creating throughout the week and weekend, but its those days that are reserved for stretching myself, so to speak, through paint and brushes. Today, I painted, but found that it was time to stop. Normally, I can spend all day working on a piece.
I wasn't "working on a piece." I was working on me. The process is about fearlessness in creation, about total self-expression, about joy in the journey. Sometimes, my travels are dark. I desperately want to be more loving. I don't know if the painting is "done" or not, but it definitely taught me what I needed to learn, today.
Creative muse -- thanks!