Last week at Esalen was a powerful process for me. I love these intuitive painting workshops as there is no end to the self-discovery that can emerge while working with one’s energy. (note: these paintings are for process, not product, please do not judge or criticize artistically) For me, I got stuck getting super attached to something I painted, an egg. I know, it might look like just an egg to you, but I had so much fun painting this egg. I liked it just the way it was. Until I painted that serpent around it, then I got rather uncomfortable with the feeling of being constricted.
I was really upset when the instructor encouraged me to paint on my egg! This made me resist his facilitation, and the class. The tension mounted. I was not going to destroy my egg. Or was I? There was a whole lot of attachment to my outcome – my results – completely stopping my process. Finally, after messing around with filling in less charged imagery outside of the egg, and being dissatisfied, I surrendered my attachment to keep my egg as is, and painted inside it.
I don’t have a picture yet of what happened inside that egg. It was small, foggy, but clearly a figure of a woman and two dangerous water dragons. The energy exploded. It wanted out.
I could tell they needed to be big. I went big, taping multiple sheets of paper together to paint a nearly life-sized woman, plunging head down underwater with two menacing water dragons closing in. This was big energy. It had to be big. I kept taping more pieces of paper on.
I kept sensing teeth, and jaws opening. A chain meandered aimlessly into focus. I felt stuck, unsure where to go. Finally a supportive assistant asked if something was outside my already huge scene. I said yes – I wouldn’t have realized it had she not asked- and what I saw didn’t fit on the page. The whale with his gaping mouth came clear into focus, and the red boat.
The white whale, the boat, and the chain are similar to a dream many years ago – maybe 7 years? popping up on this painting was quite the surprise! I went for it – such a big energy release as this flowed out of me.
I’ve worked for four days on a single piece of paper in these painting retreats. This time, I completed a 7′ x 6′ painting in a single day.
It is a powerful process. It was a powerful week. Looking back it all makes perfect sense. I understand part of what is going on here, a good part is still mystery. Having it visible is one step closer to understanding these energies. Like a dream, we first need to remember – to see it, recall the details – before we can work it. This painting is still being “worked” – the energy is still freshly recognized. So I can’t profess to say I understand it. But I do know who those two dragons are – I’ve met them before in Dreams, and Shamanic Dream Re-entry, familiar bogeys. It feels really good to paint them out into the open, where I can see them.
This is one example of why the longer workshops are so powerful – it takes time to get to the place of a major breakthrough – took me 3 days to get to the point of starting this painting! I do hope to be offering 5-day workshops in the future – including at Esalen – meanwhile, consider joining me for the weekend intuitive painting playshop in April. The full weekend provides more time to open to that intuitive, creative, and often mysterious, inner flow.