Saturday, February 2, 2013

Terrifying, but in a good way...

With my daughter's permission, I have emptied out her old room and turned it into a studio, making the ancient dresser we bought for $20 at a garage sale into a glorified paint tray, installing a real live easel and bringing my growing collection of paintings-that-should-probably-be-painted-over upstairs.

It's terrifically exciting, but also a bit scary, and somehow my meditation practice for the last few days has been consumed by the temptation to look at that fear.  One thing I realized this morning -- in one of my many driftings from center -- is that a canvas contains a world of possibilities.

For some reason that made me think about why it is I used to go to church.  It was because (and this was at a time when I was far more traditional and rule-based than I am now, when God was still a white-bearded judge in the sky) it seemed that I could never keep all the shoulds in my head at one time.  I'd get good at one aspect of Christianity, and then get to church and realize I'd fallen down somewhere else; I thought I needed those reminders because my head just wasn't big enough to hold all the rules.

Apparently I've carried that old rule-based self into the studio, thinking my head isn't big enough; that I need constant reminders of all the shapes and possibilities out there in order to create anything of value.

So now I see that painting has become an opportunity for spiritual practice; that I need to allow it to open in the same way my faith has opened; to listen, not to external rules, but to the invitation contained within each canvas.  It could be, if I allow myself to relax into it, a beautiful chance to practice letting go, to practice trust, and listening, and connect more deeply with the spirit that lives and moves in and around each of us.

It's still terrifying. But in a good way...


Maureen said...

So pleased you created that space for yourself.

Debra said...

Painting as a spiritual practice. I like that thought! I'm teaching a class on spiritual practices right now on and one of the things I attempt to do in the workshop is to broaden the horizons. Your contemplative photography site is included in the spiritual practices website links, as an example.

Thank you for sharing your journey!