Friday, January 8, 2010

Transcendence through Painting

Pain softens my hard edges and forces me to slow down. It grounds me and teaches me compassion. Today I am sending loving kindness out to all sentient beings that are suffering from physical, mental or spiritual pain.

Yesterday I got caught up in the painting again, I seem to enter into a trance when I am working on it and I don’t snap out of it until many hours later when my pain level is through the roof. Don has asked me every morning not to work on the painting until after my pain resolves, and he is right, but I get into the studio and the painting takes over, I just can’t seem to stop. Yesterday I went into the studio in the morning before breakfast and when the pain became strong enough to break the trance I decided to stop for a breakfast break, when I looked at the clock however it was 3:00 in the afternoon. I was stunned!

I stopped and made a bowl of millet & rice cereal with blueberries and went right back into the studio. At 5:30 Don arrived home to find me still at the easel a half eaten bowl of cereal on my drafting table and me barely able to stand but in an very transcendent blissful state. I knew I needed to stop at that point but I was “in the zone” a sort of manic painting state that was just too rich to end. I was in so much pain towards the end I was actual praying “God please help me stop, I know I need to stop, for the sake of my body help me stop”. The spell was finally broken by pain and fatigue and low blood sugar from not eating so I stopped. Don could see how much pain I was in and instead of yelling at me about it he helped me clean my brushes. Thank God he understands the place you go as an artist when you are graced with flow, he is so wonderful!

It is fascinating to wake up from these creative trances for the last few days, at first the landing back into my body and real time awareness is a bumpy ride. There is the pain and fatigue along with the sudden awareness of being back in my body and it is very anxiety provoking. Each day I have done some gentle yoga stretches to untangle the knots and then I do some meditation to get comfortable with the sensations of my body. I put ice packs from my neck down to my tail bone and chanted Ohm for about half an hour and got blissed out on just being a witness to the flow of feelings that were running through me like a river. There was the leftover trance like numbness still left in my body from painting, my senses were so heightened and I was seeing color, shading and contrast in everything I looked at as if the whole world were a painting. Then there was the darker side with the pain, fatigue and anxiety that were trying to creep back in. I just sat and smiled with all of it, thinking I wonder if this is anything like the awareness inducing acid trips Ram Das and Timothy Leary took back in the 60’s.

Today the pain is bad enough that I will not be going in and working on the painting, I already tried early this morning but it was crazy to even try, I want to be good to my body and let it heal and settle a bit. I am going to do some yoga stretches and meditation, run some errands with Don and have my weekly Friday lunch with my friend Susan here at the house. Today I am also acutely aware of how in the past pain and illness have caused me great anxiety, depression and suffering. Today I am lifting up all of those that are in pain of any kind, I am opening my heart to them and sending them compassion, deep love and a balm for their woundedness.

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