Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Place of Not Knowing

It's been a very long time since I last wrote a blog post.  Thank you to those of you who've written to ask me what's up.

I've been busy - but not really.  I've been traveling, but that's not really a good excuse.  I've been teaching, but I've always found time to write this blog no matter what else has been going on.  The truth is that I've been in a low spot.  A fallow part of my journey.  And it's difficult to be with and difficult to share.

After the excitement and rush of Not Barbie and Beyond Barbie then the show in Williamsburg then our recent reincarnation of Beyond Barbie, I think I have finally crashed.  I've taken a couple of weeks off the last few months - at the beach and at my high school reunion, thinking those would be times to regenerate, but there is more to regenerate than those two weeks could accomplish.

I am in a state of not knowing.

It's very uncomfortable for a person who prefers to have huge goals she's working towards with an almost manic energy.

Right now I can conger up no goals which matter to me.

I know that women's body image issues still matter to me.  I hate what is happening in our government as it is taking steps towards becoming more repressive to women.  I'm noticing.  And I'm having trouble reacting or even responding.

A couple of months back, I created a powerful response to the Vaginal Probe Ultrasound bill passed here in Virginia.  It was accepted into a show here in town.  Then sent back home with little explanation without being displayed.  What has happened to me is that because I'm not single-minded in my vision of where I'm supposed to be going, that rejection is affecting my self-perception.  When I'm feeling clear and strong, other people can say or do whatever they need do, and it doesn't affect me very much, but right now I feel less empowered and I'm letting this get to me.

A tree by Van Gogh, brimming with effervescent swarms of life and energy
Chris asked me last night where I see myself in 10 years.  I no longer know.  He asked what I want to be doing these days (good question and one I've been mulling over a lot lately too).  I had had a bit of wine (highly unusual for me) so my brain was slipping around enough to find access to a response which felt very true - I want to be fully self-expressed, but I don't need my paintings to be an expression of MY self - rather, I want them to be an expression of my experience of God.  I want to be able to translate my understanding and experience of God onto canvas in such a way that the viewer can have access to that information visually.  I feel that connection in Van Gogh's excellent paintings.  Standing in front of some of his canvases, I can feel an instantaneous connection to the Source of energy and love and divine power.  It blows me away. 

Mark Rothko's painting
In front of Rothko's paintings, I feel sublime peace - something which confuses me because I am aware his life was fraught with distress and addiction, etc.  It feels to me, though, that he must have experienced sublime peace at some level, in order to be able to create the paintings he did.

So I want to be able to access that Source and to put it on canvas.  And I am afraid to.  I'm afraid to be so vulnerable.  I'm afraid to try to do something so important to me because I might fail.  Or others might thing it looks like shit.  Or I might think it looks like shit.  Or it might not work. 

When I paint the images of female nudes, I work from photographs I've taken.  The photographs speak to me with some of the essence I'm referencing or else I wouldn't chose them.  As I'm painting the images, I think about the woman and about what I know of her life and her story.  I try to focus on love and compassion and her divine essence.  Of course, mundane life also intrudes, but my intention is there.  I think that comes through in some of my canvases.

Right now that isn't feeling like an adequate way to explore the essence of divine Source. 

I want to take out raw canvas and pour paint around.  I want to throw paint.  I want to dance all over canvas on the floor.  I want to take off my clothes and roll around on the canvas and wrap myself in it.  I want to become ecstatic and let that jump into and onto the canvas.  I want to be a pure, ecstatic channel for divine joy.  Like Rumi or Hafiz.

Instead I'm writing about it when I have time to actually do it.  Because I'm terrified of what I might find out.  I have high expectations of how I want it to look, and it might not even begin to start to think about thinking about getting there.

It's hard for me to allow myself permission to learn, to have Beginner's Mind, to explore, to screw up, to play.  My inner demons (and some outer very vocal ones in my physical world too) tell me I need to be earning money.  I have to create beauty.  What's inside of me which is craving expression will be too ugly for the world to accept.  If I actually let out my real self, it'll be too much/too intense for others.  No one will be able to take me if I let them really see who I am.  This post is too much.  Too much information.  Who really wants to see the inside of someone else's head?  It's not a pretty place.


It could be that this post is a true comfort for others who've had similar experiences but have never heard it named so thought they were all alone.  I know I would feel that way if I were to stumble upon someone else's existential Angst to which I could relate. 

I know there is divinity and pure unadulterated love at my core.  I trust that unequivocally.  I trust that each person has the same at his/her core.  So why the fear of accessing it and expressing it?

People have been martyred for trying to express this divinity, this love, this passion, this understanding that at our core we are all good. 

In a moment I am going to get up out of this chair and head out into the studio where I will clear off a bit of space so I can have room to explore and play and experiment.  I will ask God to be present and to let me be a channel for Divine goodness and joy.  And I plan to have fun too.  I will let go of my fear, or feel it and go for it anyway.

I'll end this blog with a quote a friend sent me today.  It resonates strongly for me with what I'm going through now:
The woman who needs to create works of art is born with a kind of psychic tension in her which drives her unmercifully to find a way to balance, to make herself whole. Every human being has this need... -May Sarton

If you have experienced any of what I've written about today, I'd love it if you would share your experiences too.  What have you done from this place of Not Knowing and discomfort?

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