I returned to my prayer painting practice last week. It has been many months since the last time … not since I came to the sanctity of my creative practice with prayers in various forms, but since I came in response to an ineffable intention moving through my life and those lives that touch my own.
One of the most rewarding experiences of 2014 so far has been the one-on-one work I’m doing as mentor to women developing their own holistic creative practice. Claiming time to connect with creative source, as a vessel for its realization, is nothing short of sacred in my book – so it is an honor to witness women finding out what that looks like in their day to day lives. A theme that has come up time and time again – this year and in all my years bearing witness – is fear of abandonment, or the lingering pain around unresolved, untended abandonment stories. This is not altogether surprising. It might be said that this is one of those epidemic type territories when it comes to emotional wounds or pain-points, whether acute or chronic. It has certainly been part of my own healing journey. And, related to both, is that it is human nature to want to be loved, to belong, to not be all alone in this roller-coaster of life, to have something to contribute from who we are that is deemed valuable by our people.
I’ve had more than one mentor of my own ‘caution’ that the places of our own deepest soulwork would be the very soil from which our own greatest gifts and offerings would sprout – all the more reason to do our own work if we are in the service of helping others. Honest self-tending helps create clean, safe energy within us, for sharing and holding space, as well as the language from which to articulate and recognize the process in others when they reach out to us.
All of this to say that this painting was created with prayers and questions for those working with the cycles of abandonment within themselves.
My process is energetic when I paint this way. This is how I awaken my own raw sense of connection to Creative Source. As I began painting, I realized I come to this very process with the energy of abandonment itself – an energy that has so much more to teach us than just the shadow side of abandonment that we typically think of.
I sensed that the truer truth coming through was not just for those who have been abandoned, but also for all of us who struggle with our own role in abandoning who we thought we might have been or ought to be in favor of something deeper, in honor of our own sense and process of divine unfolding. Sometimes it is messy; sometimes it hurts those we love.
We may never get to fully understand the mysterious impact of our engagement and the natural impulses that lead us to join, transform and part ways – with others, with commitments, with our work in the world…. We do, however, get to choose if we do so with kindness and faith – from a place of whole-heart-truth and accountability for consequence.
In allowing ourselves the freedom to abandon that which no longer serves our highest good, we sometimes find, with hands in the dirt of detaching, that we are pulling up roots in the name of realizing more fully who we are, how we work and maybe even why we are here. And in that dark soil we may just find we’ve opened ourselves to forgive others whose paths, in flesh or spirit, took a turn away from our own. As we tend our own evolution, we often find there is little honest choice but to change our minds – by way of our hearts – as many times as necessary to keep a greater commitment to living in our version of truth.
If we let ourselves pause in this process and take a good look around, we may begin to feel, in our very cells, the quickening of disconnect from old ways of seeing and from judging notions about right and wrong-doing in others. What has hurt us might seem less like an act of intentional, personal, avoidable harm, and part of something greater – something that may have as much offering for us as it does challenge for the other person/people involved. No longer are we speculating and ruminating, unpacking and fussing, or lingering in the quicksands of why and i’m-not-enoughs – the easy filler our mind puts in the empty places left behind. Instead, our experience alone becomes our own seed to consciously participate with and transform by way of perspective – watering, holding to the light, singing songs of reverence. In this release of another from our own longings, we leave to compost all imaginings of what-might-have-been, clearing space for the natural unfolding of what is waiting to sprout from within.
We are all such beginners here – in this coming and going, in this pain and joy, and the shape-shifting of a lifetime telling its tale through us.
May we know grace and forgiveness for one another, flexibility and forgiveness with ourselves, and the audacity to trust that we are safe and supported in the face of heart-ache and grief. May we surrender to curious participation with the experience that is our life, whether we choose to rest deeply in the spaces, re-root for new landscapes or begin tending the seeds of empowering possibility that have been resting dormant in the darkness. May we know that there is great love for us in this universe, love that never leaves us, for it is planted within and is always present to the truth of our process.