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Painting a New Life

Musings of the last few days

Unexpected Surrender

Hear This Read Aloud Below

I am in isolation for Covid.

As I lie here in a hospital bed, a place I usually avoid at all cost, I am once again reminded of my utter lack of control. One minute I’m flying high and within the blink of an eye, I am laid flat. Spirit clearly has plans for me and they aren’t anything like I would have imagined. My normal way of processing the events of the last week or so, would be to make sense of it all in some way. First I would paint, because images dig deeper into my psyche than words can. Then I’d do the rituals that help me connect to Spirit and ask for guidance and clarity about the images that have come through for me. Finally I would write about it all, the messages contained in my painting and my understanding of what I discovered. But here I am in a hospital without those abilities, surrounded by weird energy, constant triggers for PTSD, being poked and prodded at all hours. No nature to be found. No dogs licking my face. No hugs. Nothing around me that reminds me of me.

I am in isolation for Covid.

When my environment doesn’t seem to support it, my circumstances are triggering at best, and I have no idea what the outcome is going to be or when I’ll know, am I willing to trust that Spirit is handling everything for me? My trust is being tested big time here. Can I be grateful, at peace and loving in this situation? I actually am. I have been surrendering to Spirit more than I realized for the last 24 hours. Lying here without real thought, just being. This wasn’t my plan, but as I know only too well, my plans aren’t always the best for me.

I look back over the last 10 days of my life.

After over two years of isolation and not seeing friends or family, I made the choice to take a risk. Taking a trip to see family and attend our 51st high school reunion, was a big decision given my health over the last number of years, but I worked very hard to be as strong as possible for this trip. I did well, holding my own with family even though it was emotional. I rose to the occasion and beyond for the reunion and made some new friends while connecting with some old ones. I stood my ground with what I needed and was respected for it, thinking that I was giving myself enough to make it through the trip in good shape. But then I started to feel under the weather on the final day before our last leg. What I really needed was to come home. I needed it badly. We didn’t. Instead we forged on and every day got harder and worse with greater disconnect from all that I knew to be true. I began to lose sight of who I was and felt less and less connected. How did I manage to go from such a strong place to lying flat in a hospital bed?

Spirit is showing me that I am not in control at all. Just because I felt strong and powerful doesn’t mean I was in control. Just because I was able to rise to the occasion, doesn’t mean I was in control. Getting covid was one thing, but getting pneumonia on top of it was totally unexpected and what landed me in the hospital.

Obviously not within my control.

I started to ask myself why and then realized that I already had a good sense of what was happening. A big part of accepting responsibility for my strength is the humility to accept my lack of control. I am not in control when I feel great and certainly not lying flat on my back. Spirit brought me to a place where I could practice letting it all go. Total surrender to what is. I have the feeling I’ll visit this place over and over again.

I’m not going to waste time regretting that I took that trip. It taught me a lot. I took it on like a champ, preparing on so many levels for what I expected might come my way. But there was no way to foresee the unexpected and perhaps I was naive to think that I could escape Covid on a trip like this. Would I have made a different decision had I had a crystal ball? I’m not so sure that I would have. I had a very specific intention when I made my decision and I’m not so sure it could have been fulfilled in any other way. For that reason, only I know whether the choice I made was worth the price I’m paying.

One of the most important things in my life is my connection to Spirit and to my own truth. Living that truth, walking my talk and embodying the essence I was given to embody, come next. Whatever it takes for me to connect to those elements and do the work of bringing them into physical reality for others to benefit from, is the work of my life. Sometimes it’s painting, other times it’s writing, but most of the time, it’s simply BEING. Let me explain a bit further, because I have a feeling this is too easy to skim over. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. “We are not human doings. We are human beings.” But what does that mean in real life terms?

The word that comes to mind is embodiment. It is a word that has great meaning for me, something I have worked for in my life for a very long time. It means to give a concrete form to, to express and to personify.

The images I create are the embodiment of Spirit’s messages coming through me. They bring tangible form to a sense that has been conveyed to me and that form, with its colors and textures and shapes, holds that sense in every element. When you look at it, you might think you are responding to particular colors for instance. That might be true. But you are also receiving the message that was intended for you through a vehicle, a color, that you can resonate with. The message itself might not be clear to you, but the fact that it struck you in some way and caused you to pause for a moment, tells me that there is more for you there if you take the time to be with it.

Years ago when I began painting again I developed a practice. I knew that the images coming through me had greater meaning than I was consciously aware of and that I had to sit with what was appearing on the paper before me to learn what it was. Once I finished a painting I began a ritual of sitting with it, sometimes for hours at a time, to glean what was being revealed. Then, oftentimes I wrote it directly on the paper. It was part of the piece, part of the process and it was part of the art. Once I started working in acrylics again it wasn’t as easy to write on the canvas, but I still sat, listened and wrote. Pages sometimes, pages of thoughts streaming through me as if downloaded into my mind.

Just as each painting I create is the physical embodiment of a message from Spirit, from some other reality, I am now the embodiment of my own spiritual essence. I know that might sound strange, but a life of trauma sent my soul running for shelter and it has taken years to create a safe space for it to return. I have had the experience of it coming back into my body after a lifetime of holding it at bay. I know what it feels like to be filled with it, with my own energy, with Spirit, and it is a fullness like nothing I have ever experienced before. Along with this incredible gift comes responsibility. To walk this earth as who I truly am, something I have worked towards and envisioned for years, I am being asked to do so with absolute integrity. Doing my work, releasing all that isn’t this essence, clearing space, repainting my life down to the smallest detail, and relating to others with impeccability, rethinking everything I had as a goal or dream, is the next phase of what began in January of this year. It is about the embodiment of all that has come over the last year. By no means is this a done deal. Far from any sense of enlightenment or bliss, I am now painfully aware of how tenuous that feeling of embodiment is. It comes and goes and sometimes I feel like chasing it down, but I’m coming to realize that this is simply the ebb and flow of living. Sometimes I feel deeply connected and then just when I settle into that feeling, it flees on the wind. My connection is a practice, like everything else in my life.

The gifts of this trip, this illness that came from it, have been numerous. I have experienced the fruits of the last year of intensive work. I have seen glimpses of a possible path for the coming year. I have been shown once again that I am not the one in control here and that my vision for myself is way too limited. And I have been guided to things and situations that I wouldn’t have dreamed up for myself, all of which are proving to be exactly what I needed in the first place. I am being almost, not quite, forced into a state of BEING instead of doing. And this is where embodiment truly shines. I am learning through this that my greatest contribution to others, as well as myself, is through who I am, not what I do or provide. And that whatever I provide, if coming from who I am naturally being, will be potent and meaningful and glorious because that is what my essence creates. I don’t have to try anymore. I am just it. Not like “Look at me, I’m it!” No, this isn’t about ego. It is an acceptance of the responsibility for shining the unique light that I have to shine in the world. It is ownership of who I am and what I have to offer. I have a responsibility now to use what I have been given in the best ways that I can and I don’t take that lightly. I say this for myself personally and I say this for all of us. Each of us has a light to shine, an essence to embody, a gift that we were given to share. Owning that requires that we accept responsibility for who we are and the effect we have on others. It means that we don’t get to play small anymore.

The ideas are coming bit by bit. My sense is that 2023 will reveal something quite new, and yet quite old as it has been part of me for eons. How I offer my work might be one of the things that changes. Certainly how I live my life will shift greatly. This, my friends, is rebirth on such a fundamental level that I don’t have adequate words at this time. The embodiment of visions, of downloaded messages, of lifetimes of striving to be able to live my truth without fear, seem to be here now. If you see a change in me, this is it. If you are attracted to my work, then there is something of this in it for you. There is more to come. There will always be more to come because I am forever a work in process, unfinished, imperfect and beautifully human.


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