Vision Quest month 3 : painting marathon and mastering detachment
As I have shared in two previous posts (HERE and HERE), I am in the process of becoming a certified creativity coach with Whitney Freya's Vision Quest - The Creatively Fit Program. One of the main tools that Whitney has been using for almost 20 years, and the real core of the program, is the "Painting Made Easy" process, in which we engage fully through a painting marathon!
Each of us is creating 26 paintings on just a few canvases, layering one painting over the previous one, and mastering detachment in the process... Why detachment? Why paint over something that you have devoted yourself to, sometimes for hours? Why paint over something that, at some point, has been an intimate and maybe truly deep experience? Or why even bother doing it, if there is no "end product" at stake? Why "waste" so much paint and time, why, why, why...?
Well, if nothing else, for the fun of the challenge... But mostly, for the journey. This is where the "Vision Quest" component truly get into high gear. Because with each painting, we learn. We get beyond the veil of our subconscious mind , into our "right brain", our infinite creative mind, into the truth of who we are. There we find guidance, insights, epiphanies. There we gain new awareness and clarity about the things that have been holding us back, our resistance, our emotions. And above all about the things we want, and how to create the life we desire.
In truth, this is precisely what I do every time I devote myself to my art, every time I get to be in the studio with my paints and inks and brushes and colorful scraps of paper... What the coaching training is giving me, is more awareness about this creative process, and the ability to share it with others in deep but fun and practical ways.
Here are a few very real insights I have gained from these first painted journeys "beyond the canvas", messages from my inner artist and guide:
The first prompt was to intuitively paint the element of water, which is symbolic of our emotions: I took an old canvas that was already covered with paint left-overs, and jut poured some blue paint over it. I moved it around and then carved some designs into the thick paint. Randomly at first, and then mermaid came up. In fact this symbol had been calling my attention for a few weeks, I kept seeing mermaids everywhere! What did she have to tell me? Well she is half-human and half-fish. She tells me to dive deep into my emotions, see what's under there, but not let them rule my life. She tells me to come back to the surface and breathe the fresh air of to the life I deliberately choose to create.
A lotus then bloomed in her hand: this powerful symbol tells me that whatever "muck" I find in the depths of my emotions, the fears, the insecurities, the anger, the sense of unworthiness and disconnection, not only does not prevent my dreams from blossoming, but it is all transformed into nourishment, wisdom, experience, contrast.
The third symbol that came up is the bird, symbolizing joyful freedom and possibility. This was soon followed by the painting of the humming-bird, full of joyful energy, soaring to new heights.
I looooved doing the "little man" painting, it was so much fun to reconnect with my 3 year-old self and I kept this painting for a while before I felt capable of painting over it. But the point is that I did. because as much as I love her, I am not this tiny little girl anymore. She lives inside of me, and she is the foundation of so much in my life, yet I have grown and expanded since then, just like the paintings that have emerged over this one.
One of which is the painting of the blue face. It came to me at a moment when I was feeling, well... blue. Just expressing this on the canvas instead of repressing it made me feel so much better. As I kept working on it, I felt more and more imbalance between one side of the painting, which seemed brighter, livelier, and the other side that felt dull, confused and dark. This was weighing me down and I suddenly decided to draw a vertical line in the middle of the canvas, dividing it in two. This is when I realized that the woman's hair looked pretty much like a brain, and that the two "hemispheres", left and right, where clearly identified. I acknowledged this contrast and complementarity, and deliberately accentuated it in a way that made the painting more balanced. As a result, the face became more serene, and so did I!
I could go on and on about how much of a metaphor for life the canvas can be, when we spiral in and out of it, experiencing, and at the same time observing the experience.
The last painting I want to share with you today is this little owl. It is important for me because it embodies my word of the year: Clarity. Owl is a guide that can see in the dark, and show us the way out of confusion and darkness. The half-moon symbol of balance has also been showing up for me again and again since the beginning of this Vision Quest. It is a powerful reminder and a guide.
Below are the first 12 miles of the marathon. I am committed to doing all 26 and I'll see you at the finish line!
Light & Love
Other Vision Quest blog posts:
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