When I let myself paint with no agenda, I love the way that the deepest messages and needs of my life, the wise reminders and perfect validations, show up reflected in both the imagery that surfaces and my rhythm with the creative process.

This painting is a prime example of that – and of where I’m at.
This one has a lot less layers, and yet took a lot more time and reflection between the brushstrokes than many of my paintings.
It had a very clear message for me.
All it needed was for me to show up.

 
I’m the kind of person that is always seeing connections between things.
I’ve never had to try very hard to do so.
Certainly, there have been times when I’m not in alignment
that I have misread or not been ready for the message of some connections,
but mostly, the knowing just washes over me without thought.
Like an instant download. 🙂

I used to discredit this a lot – a result of some very tender, raw places
that simply needed a little light and a lot of love.
But as I am re-affirming my commitment to my own truth,
and turning my attention and compassion more deliberately on my own unfolding
– on the only thing I truly can change in this world anyway –
I am sinking into the Awe of my gift at seeing connections so instantaneously,
and recognizing this as the bed where my greatest offerings rest .

This isn’t always easy.
But I am letting it validate me and this amazing world I am in love with.
I am allowing it to be my map, one step at a time, even when I have no idea where I’ll end up.

When I worked in hospice,
we talked a lot about meeting our patients and their families “where they are.”
Meaning that, even when we could see a perspective or decision
that would ease the burden and pain they were feeling,
it was more important to choose to be a compassionate witness to their journey,
to allow them to decide what they needed most,
and how many steps and stumbles they would encounter along the way.
There is a dignity and trust that develops from this approach,
an understanding between two beings that is allowed to exist
without the word-fluff of ulterior motive and inorganic time-frames.

And, I truly believe, this *always* worked out to offer the highest good for that person.
Even when I couldn’t see how it would,
even when it made no sense to me why they chose the struggles they did.
Even when the pain wasn’t lifted miraculously
and there wasn’t some enlightening revelation about life and death and spirit and letting go.

See, when we place expectations on others (or ourselves),
it is often based around our own (dis)comfort zones.
We’re all really trying to just maintain our own sense of peace in the world.
We want answers and change quick in order to do so,
forgetting that sometimes there are no answers or pain-relievers,
but that the greatest of ease can come simply in the salve of slowing down into the process of presence.

I had to begin to develop an understanding that,
although letting go is often where the healing truly begins,
sometimes we also need to let go of letting go and just be where we are,
in the pain, in the discomfort, in the pool of change and transition.
And allow others the same grace of their own timing.

I’ve found, that when we can bring ourselves to this state of gentle witnessing,
much of what we have been feeling and resisting
begins to dissipate into a manageable co-existence
with what is also naturally good and inherent in our lives.
And both the good and the difficult become essential parts
of what is meant to unfold for our highest selves.

This is the lesson gift I am living right now:
that it is imperative that I turn this compassion toward myself, toward the darker side of me –
that instead of forcing and pushing and over-thinking and hurrying through misplaced doing
or trying to rationalize connections that aren’t there because my mind screams, “Crazy!”, “Impossible” (and ooh, so exciting), –
that, instead of all of that,
I need to just slow down and Meet Me Where I Am
trusting trusting trusting
one soothing stroke at a time.

Right now, this means looking into the eyes of the me that has always made things difficult on myself.
Looking at her with love, instead of contempt or irritation,
and seeing her gifts and promise, instead of just seeing her as a barrier or flaw or broken.
Instead of just wanting to banish her and ignore her.

She means no harm, just protection.
She is my shell.
And she aches for the liberty of movement and acknowledgment as much as the rest of me.

Because every connection I see is partially because of her tiger stripes and hard scars.
She is the dark of my light, the watchful gatekeeper to my vulnerabilities,
the reason my light can shine so vivid, a witness and player to my own sacred story –
not despite my ‘secrets’, regrets and shame in life,
but because of them.

She shouldn’t be abandoned, and truly cannot be.
She is made to shift and grow and expand like every other place in my being.
Where she is, right now, is as essential to me as South is to North when looking for
and sinking into my pivotal center.

With this painting I received these reminders:

Patience is key
Slowing down is the kindest gift to offer in times of great change.
Every itty-bit part of me is made for this and needs my love ~ even the parts I don’t like or that still hurt.
I already have every protection I might need from every fear I can possibly imagine.

And just in recognizing all of this, I already *feel* the strengthening of my connection
to endurance, longevity and the absolute steadfast ability
to co-create – with Source –
the best, sustainable creative life I can envision.

Moving with this turtle rhythm wisdom and gentleness,
knowing that sometimes I have to just retreat into my bellysoul safe zone,
meeting my self, all of me, lovingly, right where I am,
letting go of letting go with each pulse of my heart,
and sinking into the joy that fills the breath between moments of discomfort and uncertainty –

all of these choices just mean I get to enjoy the brilliant details of the amazing connections
every step along the journey.

Turtle Women. Acrylic and oil pastel. 46″x35″.

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