The creative process is a funny thing. The most intriguing thing for me is that it allows my intuitive self to step in and suggest things that my logical mind would not, and thereby I hear a voice larger than myself, which I long for so very deeply. And I think everyone does in one way or another, don’t they? We all long to hear our mother’s voice, no matter what form our childhood took. It is much the same, this longing for our intuitive voice which comes directly from our heart, from our larger selves, our muse, Our Lady, our Great Mother that is the Earth Herself.
Recently I have been asking my intuitive self and my Earth Mother to help me fully step into my creativity without fear and make the space and time for it a priority. I had realized that I was avoiding making the best use of my time to feed my creative work. I would keep myself busy in the kitchen or garden or with craft projects. While all of these engender a lot of beautiful creativity too and feed my soul – for me it is not the same as staring at a blank canvas or a blank page kind of creative time, where I really have to step into the unknown. Wherever it leads. It was so perplexing – if this was my deepest longing, why did I fear it and keep myself busy, so I didn’t have time for it?
I started a painting in a recent intuitive process painting class that I do weekly with Chris Zydel, and it really stumped me. The idea in these sessions is to follow my intuition by only asking what the next brush stroke is: what color, where and what shape on the paper. To follow what comes up, what has juice or energy, even if my mind or inner critic says things like, “that will be ugly”, “that will ruin your painting”, “that won’t work”, etc. Often deep feelings arise and get worked through in the process.
So, in this painting, a big face had come into the painting, and a lot of organic plant and flower imagery had appeared, and it was feeling like it was coming together, but the open mouth was vague and was getting hemmed in by the plants and vines. Then the mouth said it wanted to be black – and it felt like a deep lake back through time. And then it said it wanted to be bigger, wider and it took over the plants around it. And then it was like all this energy was coming through it and it wanted paint splattered on it. And after I did that, the bottom half of the painting where the big mouth and the splatters were, really looked completely different than the top half with the big eyes, nose, and flowers.
And the feeling that came up was extreme agitation that the two halves of the painting looked so different. And ugly to me too, but after 5 years in this class I have come to love the ugly paintings that happen along with the beautiful ones. But this agitation was REALLY uncomfortable. The desire to bring some harmony to the painting – to make the upper and lower halves of it work together was overwhelming, so I stopped and sat with it. Or rather bounced around and pulled my hair and drummed my fingers – I couldn’t relax, and I realized I had hit a nerve. The painting had brought me to the edge of my fear. The fear of NOT MATCHING and what that meant in my life.
When I was a kid, matching was important. I couldn’t wear plaids and stripes together. The colors of my clothes had to match. I wanted to keep the peace, fit in, be the nice girl and for everyone to get along. I want them to MATCH, to be congruent. But I have realized that when I try too hard to control my world, I end up not speaking for myself, and abandoning myself. The painting is telling me so clearly that when I can’t or don’t say what I really think, it is my fear of allowing things to NOT match.
The world is full of things that don’t match, both good and bad. The beautiful lake next to the industrial park. The highway noise over the hill from my garden. On the other hand, there is the beauty of what might be seen as not matching – we often call it diversity and multiplicity, and it is critical for healing our world. The more voices that can speak and be heard and sing in a complex chorus, the richer and stronger we are. Not everything has to match, and usually doesn’t.
When I stifle my voice to try and make things match instead of allowing all the voices to be heard, then it is my FEAR of not matching that is the problem. I worked through this deeply in my body with prayer and the painting process and this new awareness allowed me to step into and through my fear and deeper into my intuitive creative work. I am more often able now to offer it all up to Her and step into the unknown.
Nothing has to match. And most importantly, it is not up to me to make them match or not match. My work is to listen and be present and take the next step. Be myself, speak my voice and not abandon myself in whatever situation arises and listen to my heart’s desire.