Tuesday, August 26, 2014

snakes in the ground of my being

Full screen
Just me and this white rectangle
And a keyboard supported by computer technology.

That is my key word
That is the word that alerts me to life
Not what I want life to be
But what it is.
The heart of the matter is change held in something that never changes.
Process is development, life and death.
Process painting is undoing in the guise of doing.
Life is slippery for the mind to grasp.
That is its power and gift.

So, I already corrected something
And I am now stumped.
Brought into a thinking place, to get it right.
The word "process" alerts me again and again
To the flow of life,
To my place in relation to life
And to the joy that comes in letting go to its course, to its wisdom course.

No room here for blame
Let it go.
Process is kind and loving and fierce.
Like reality.

During one of my first process paintings
I was letting the color flow.
Letting images take form,
I had no plan.
It felt like pure response.
I was feeling something new: joy.
I could feel the snake wanting to appear,
and there was a familiar mistrust.
I hesitated,
fearful that a snake would bring something into being
that I did not ask for and was not wanting to feel or face.
The evil dark…. the threat of evil, the past.

But curiosity had its way with me and I chose a color for the snake
My brush touched the paper,
Gliding green,
a snake took form.

A past memory was touched,
of the green garter snake
in my father’s hand.

The neighborhood boys had been chasing me with a snake
and I was scared.
I ran to my father who was kneeling in the garden,
And as luck would have it
there, too, was a snake,
a thin, green, garter snake.
He showed it to me, wanting to allay my fears of the snake.
Maybe it helped.
Being with him helped.
By the age of seven I was already well challenged by the dance of boys in the natural world.
Whether I was ready to fully trust it or not,
I received what my father could give to me.
The teaching settled into my body through the love I felt for and from my father.

So, bringing my attention back to the painting,
this green snake appeared with such a surprising quality
Joyfully slender.
Emerald green.
And more snakes took form.
They wrapped themselves up along the stems of the wild flowers that bloomed in this new garden before my eyes.
I was filled from the inside with a new found joy for life, space had been made for this joy to be felt.

This was one of the first times I experienced letting the process lead me from within.
My teacher speaks of process painting as a conversation.
Experience has lead me to understand that to have a conversation one has to feel one’s ground and be the openness of listening. To be willing to trust what is unknown and beyond my control sets the stage for a good conversation.

Intuitively, I have spent my life developing trust in the ground of my own being.
Painting and meditation came together to meet me as I began my path of higher education. They are the sails of my boat.
Life tests me to develop skillful means to see clearly and to feel fully.
Drenched in intuition and obeying my depth, I am following the direction of true north.

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