Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Proof of Magic

This is a painting I did resulting from a class I enrolled in online called "Visual Quest", led by an amazing shamanic teacher named Pixie Lighthorse.

I am in no way trained, or naturally skilled, in the realm of painting. I am, however, a creative being (as we all are), who is willing to explore foreign terrain , and to dig into new ground. I am curious, and I am a seeker. Those two things have resulted in a meandering kind of life. I look around, see what shows up, or what I seem drawn toward, and I kick it around . I start scraping the surface of things, see what is revealed and how it touches me. Some things stick, others are brief visitors, while some come and go in cycles and seasons.

I have become most intensely interested with all things spiritual, mystical, and miraculous. Magic. Not that hocus-pocus, sleight of hand kind though. Magic, as in experiences or phenomenon beyond normal understanding, the seemingly unexplainable.

I used to be a staunch skeptic in some respects. Anything approaching being spiritual, or connected to divinity, in any way, shape, or form felt alien and unreasonable. Miracles, or mystical occurrences were not even a consideration in my view of reality.

In my quest for healing I landed on a yogic path. The yoga I practice is deeply spiritual in nature, a way of living and being. My skeptical, jaded, wounded self has gone through intense periods of doubt, questioning and resistance, but once I encountered this path it became clear, it had my name on it, like it or not. Maybe that doesn't seem like magic, or a miracle, but from the vantage point of this moment, from where I am sitting, I know that it is.

Since embarking on this yoga journey, I have become more and more open. I have discovered buried pieces of myself. I trust my intuition, I follow it with deep faithfulness. I am expanding, evolving, and often, when I least expect it, more miracles and magic arrive. Sometimes my skeptic gets her nose into something and puts her two disbelieving cents in, and I thank her for her service. She keeps me grounded and level. An essential part of a spiritually based seeking of truth is to question everything. It is useful to be in harmony with both the mystical and the pragmatic.

I have directly experienced what I call miracles and magic many times now, this painting being one example.

I signed up for this shamanic painting course from that place of playful curiosity, and also from a desire to explore painting as a creative expression; through my hands, in shape and color, to source my soul and let it spill onto the canvas, without concern for technique or attachment to ideas of what constitutes "good" art.

The course began with some introductory work on shamanism, background on animal guides and how to connect to them, as well as some guided journey work, think led visualization to meet these guides and receive their messages. If your skeptical side is already tapping her toe and rolling her eyes...yeah I know, been there, felt that. For the sake of my story, just go with a bit of suspension of disbelief here. Thanks.  At any rate, I had already done a few shamanic courses and found them to be very grounding actually, as well as deeply moving and transformational. You never know how powerfully something will impact and change you unless you give it an open minded try.

When the painting instruction began though, I started bumping up against the edge of my comfort zone. I have some old stories about my ability, or lack thereof, as an artist. I took a breath and followed the preliminary steps, and as they were presented with such kindness and grace, I was able to loosen around the fear and commit to my creative process.

Then came the part where Pixie explained, how after putting preliminary layers of color down through intuition and feeling, I would pause to observe the canvas and my animal guides would somehow begin to appear to me. These guides would just magically step forward, active participants, co-creating my painting with me. Now these are not the particular words she used, but my interpretation, how I heard it. My inner skeptic practically guffawed in cynical hysteria at this. I thought, "Sure, all these arty artists will have veritable safaris of beautifully rendered animal totems blossoming exquisitely from their brushes, but no way that could possibly happen to me!"

I forged ahead nonetheless, curiosity is my stronger inclination, thank goodness! I applied paint and set it aside for awhile. Then fumbling for faith, I returned to it a day later to give it a look. My skeptic was on alert, and in her defense, she was there to protect my fragile ego from a potentially injurious disappointment, and a deepening of the gash of insecurity I have been carrying around about art. I took out the canvas and looked at it once, twice, rotated it to each side, scrutinizing it hopefully, and then I saw an outline of a bird head, nothing fancy, but definitively a shape, a form, emerging from those swirls of color! I roughly painted it in, and then a whale shape was there, clear as day, all I had to do was follow the outline with my brush. I became totally taken, delighted, awestruck. Over the next couple of days, I painted and looked, and I saw more and more, a dolphin, a heart, a coyote. I was left joyfully astounded by the whole experience. I truly feel these images came forth from source, from a larger intelligence, one that is both within me and yet beyond me. Mystical and magical, but in my direct experience also concrete, very real.

I call this, my first shamanic painting, "Proof of Magic". It figures as an important piece of evidence, among many, that continue to anchor me on my path, my quest for truth, my seeking by the light of faith, guiding me through doubt and fear. I have come so far and transformed so much, by way of and by witnessing  each miracle, whether small or profound, by my willingness to consider, and my capacity to expand my ideas of what is real and possible. Anything can happen. I learn this again and again.

Maybe you believe this is proof of magic, or maybe not. My intention is not to convince of you of anything, or to force my evidence upon you, but to invite you to look at the canvases that are in front of you, the events and experiences that find you, the colors and shapes of your life. Maybe if you look at them at a new angle, with curiosity and a spark of faith, you will see magic and mystery at work. Who knows what you will discover, if you get your brave on and take a chance, try something new or revisit the familiar. Why not delve into the unknown wilderness of what calls your name? Get curious, be a seeker, you are guaranteed to discover great wonders in you.

If you are interested in the fabulous and deeply sacred work of Pixie Lighthorse you can find her at www.pixiecampbell.com. I highly recommend.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pic and a Poem #37

i can go anywhere now that
you are by my side
the big space before us
the barren vista
of dead wood and shed skin
which once would have left me
trembling in fear
is transformed
harsh angles soften
earth is yet alive
you show me how to look
pointing it out
laughing at my naivety 
believing is seeing
vision is substance
we carry it even into
the darkest night
making our own way
lit torches across heaven
and earth

telling stories, singing songs
secret dances of our kinship
the ways of brothers and sisters
in a wild tribe of deep magic
those who travel the great distance
of life and death
whispering back to us
in shifts of sand
and stirring of creatures
we trail on the footsteps of ancients
out into the far reaches
beyond doubt and despair
unearthing the plenitude of being
truth, love, and beauty
that extends infinitely
from an endless past
to a fathomless future
our feet planted here
knowing who we are
in each other 
fearing no freedom
we journey on

Thursday, January 15, 2015

life is slippery

life is slippery
any grip or firm footing
is a momentary phantom

all is waves and shifting
turbulence and cadence
expanding, contracting

i once thought it all
was so slow
i tapped in impatience
my foot
restless drumming
a march forward
i pushed into it
thirsty for the next thing

then yesterday i
was at a touch pool
with a little boy
squealing with laughter
we reached for the fish
it was slippery
soft and elusive beneath our fingers

when i looked up
that boy was almost a man
reaching into the water
elusive still
the fish sliding under his fingers
the same joyful smile

life is slippery
like socks on our wood floor
with the songs we love
on so loud
windows rattle
and we are
jumping and twirling
slip sliding away

my girls have new moves now
i try them on
but i am pretty old school
they smile anyway
less like girls
their moves and smiles
hints of women
the same joyful dance

life is slippery
i sometimes get panicked
trying to find a grip or firm footing
but it is how it must be
and as it flows
if i let go
i find it all so beautiful