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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sacred Truths

"Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing
there is a field.
I'll meet you there."

I'm sitting here with so much inside of me. So much that is dying to be expressed. But instead of stringing lovely, clear words together, I struggle and have difficulty forming a coherent sentence. I so often find myself wishing it was possible to reach my readers without feeling I need to come up with the "right" words. Words can be so limiting when you feel you have oceans of emotions and thoughts inside. Right now they feel trapped and stuck, like there is no safe way out.

I spent the weekend at in art retreat. For two days I was surrounded by other painters, most of whom had been painting for years, many of whom had some degree or another in art. We were taken to water (a river and a lake) with the expectation that we would paint what we saw. After painting all day, we came together for "critiquing." Upon hearing the word "critique," my tummy turned over. I panicked and quickly became overwhelmed and insecure.

I've been painting in the comfort of my little studio room, all by myself, with no formal training whatsoever. I've only been painting for 6 months. Though the teachers were super nice and supportive, and the students too, my critical mind pounced and then took over. I lost perspective. i forgot all the sacred things I've learned. I forgot that art is so not about good and bad for me. It's about expression. It's about accessing that place of truth inside of me and allowing it to come through. It's about the meditative process of creation. It's about sharing a part of myself with you.

But often situations that initially appear negative or bad for us, turn out to be our greatest teachers. The whole weekend I wanted to cry and rip my hair out. I wanted to jump in the river and let it carry me far far away. I wanted to escape back home to the comfort of my little painting room. I kept wondering how it was possible for me to feel so small and insecure when, over the last several months, I've been feeling so boundless and sure.

But I understand now. It's about trusting myself--trusting the knowing that I've been carrying inside of me ever since I picked up a paint brush. That giddy feeling I've had over the last few months has been there because I've tapped into a sacred place. It has nothing to do with other's opinions about my creations, whether I get the "composition" just right. It has nothing to do with whether I have the "right" equipment or get the right "opposing colors," or whatever they're called. I don't understand any of that.

But I do understand compassion and gentleness and freedom of expression. I understand that place inside me that whispers the truth; that place that is beyond words and "right doing" and "wrong doing." With great resolve and certainty, I stand there now, in that sweet and sacred field of knowing.

Thank you weekend, for shining the light on what I've always known.


  1. Thank you for sharing this. So glad that you found your way back. I can't wait to see what new paintings come out of this return to you!

  2. Indeed. You've reached a reader and ALL of your words are ALWAYS RIGHT! Well done on hearing the whispers and finding your sacred field. I love you, friend.

  3. Wow...I've been trying to remember that Rumi quote all week. So beautiful & true - the quote & your post. I've been in a doubtful place as well lately - not good enough, not the right time, place...whatever.

    I think it's beneficial that you don't speak the technical language of painting...less to cloud the process.

    It sounds like you made this an awesome retreat. Journey on...


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♥ Julia