What Messing Around With Paint Taught Me

creating with spirit artAbout a month ago I spent a delicious weekend creating with spirit in the company of a sacred circle of women. For twelve hours over two days we created art, meditated to the healing energies of sound bowls, bonded, and engaged in ritual and ceremony.

The image on this post is a result of that weekend experience.

I’m no artist. Even as I type the words, my inner voice says That’s a lie. In truth, we’re all artists. And we knew it to be our truth and embraced it until that cruel remark from an art teacher. An older sibling or parent put the idea into our heads that we somehow had to be better than. It wasn’t okay to make art or poetry or craft if you weren’t the best at it. So we quit. Abandoned the joys that creating brought us.

Ask a four-year-old if she’s an artist and every part of her being vibrates with an unequivocal Yes. You and I were that four-year-old too. Once upon a long time ago we knew how to create for joy and we believed we were the best at it.

So as I allowed my brush to dance with the canvas and watched periwinkle, forest green and aquamarine weave together to make magic, I had an awakening. I simply had to let color speak on the canvas. That is what creating art is all about. The swirls and dips were my soul’s beauty expressing on the surface.

I let go of the idea that I had to create something. I dove into the idea of having fun. Whatever emerged was fine. This was an expression of me, my feelings, my being.

So often we approach a task or a hobby with the goal of ‘perfection.’ Doing something perfectly is about efforting, striving and getting somewhere, often unreachable. How different the same experience might be if we let ourselves flow with the joy of the moment.

Giving up an agenda on what I should create took me to the space of the four-year-old. Having fun with colors was the only thing that mattered in the moment. I sensed a deeper message in this simple metaphor. How would life be if we brought this attitude of open-heartedness to every challenge and struggle?

No destination in sight.

Nothing to measure.

No one to compare with.

How would your grief experience be different if you stopped struggling with the idea that:

  • you needed to know how to grieve
  • there is a right way and wrong way to grieve
  • your grief is taking too long
  • you need to know how long it will last
  • you’re not doing it as well as some other griever

Whether you’re making origami or mourning a loss, immerse yourself in what is showing up. Give all of yourself to it. Do it without being attached to expectations and outcomes. Honor it as a holy expression of your being. Do it the way it feels right to you, not the way the world says you should do it. Leave your soul’s imprint on it.

If you’re seeking more clarity on grief and loss, here’s my 6-week audio eCourse Responding to Grief And Loss.

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