Reflections on reflections

I had something happen a few weeks back that took me aback.  By that, I mean, I wasn’t myself, I didn’t even recognize myself and my reaction. It’s not like me to get so distraught, the level of my reaction didn’t match what was actually happening, and so, being the introspective seeker I am, I had to reflect upon it.  While I was processing this, I was working on a painting I had started prior to the incident.  Now, you may be wondering what happened, but let me assure you, the actual event is not important to my story… it in itself, is inconsequential.

What is important is what I learned about myself in regards to my emotional reaction. I knew all this before, but  apparently I needed the reminder. In the Zen-mindfulness state I’d been working on, I’d forgotten what it was like to live through a downpour of emotions. My reaction had me pondering it’s cause, so I made a list of stressful events in the last few months and came up with a good dozen crises that, at the time, I’d rolled with just fine, until this last thing that suddenly seemed like life or death. Making the list helped me remember to be kind to myself and give myself permission to be human. It’s really okay to make mistakes.  Mistakes are opportunities to learn.

I also realized that oftentimes, people in your life are a reflection of yourself. By trying to have them change so that you can feel better is like reaching out to a mirror and brushing it’s hair. When what you see is messy hair, try brushing your own head, not the reflection that you see.  The problem wasn’t really what I was seeing… the problem was me.

Ironic that I’d be working on another Women of the Wilderness painting at exactly this moment, and that it would feature a reflection of the Three Sisters in a snow melt pond.  The painting helped sooth my ruffled feathers and as I reflected upon the reflection, it all became clear to me.

The mountains are beautiful, majestic and bold as they march across the blue sky, jagged edges against a perfect day. Below, the trees tumble down obsidian cliffs and spread out on the lava and pumice strewn soil. It’s a nice image, but its composition lacks interest until you get to the almost perfectly round pond. It reflects the peaks, but it shows just a riffle of wind, reminding you, it is not the thing you see, but merely a reflection… a mirror.

Just like life, the thing you see in a mirror isn’t the thing at all. You can’t climb a mountain in a mirror; if you are going to climb mountains at all, you’re going to have to tackle the real one.

Reflection on a Reflection

Shifting Consciousness

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I used to be a teacher.  I used to be a painting contractor.  I used to be a glorified factory worker for a large technology company.  I used to be a lot of things.  Lately I’m wondering what I am now.  Things that seemed to be clear cut are no longer clear anymore.  It’s as if I’ve awoken from a long sleep and someone rearranged the furniture while I was unconscious.   Everything looks the same but it’s all in the wrong place.

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Now I usually love rearranging the furniture.  There is something very satisfying about opening up my space and redirecting the traffic patterns throughout my house so that I use my home in a new way.  There’s an energy shift in moving furniture, I love the feng shui-ness of it all.  So the metaphoric rearranging of my brain, my thoughts, my goals and who exactly I might be is giving me the same boost I get from actually moving a couch across the living room.

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Only this time, I’m having a harder time deciding the final pattern… it all seems in flux.  But in the spirit of going with the flow, while still maintaining a concrete grasp on reality,  I’m drawing and journaling my thoughts.  I’ve just completed my second on-line Mandala workshop (check out Julie Gibbons if you’d like to know more… she’s a darling Scottish teacher making magic on the internet) .  It’s been inspiring and very satisfying to draw mandalas but I can’t say I’ve reached any clarity of thought.  Maybe it’s the circular nature of the mandala… or the zen like meditative state I find myself in while coloring tiny intricate patterns.  Maybe it’s digging down into my subconscious and stirring up the silt that’s muddying up the waters of my present.  Maybe it’s mind blowing thought porn that has me watching YouTube videos on math and science, spiritual growth and psychology that’s got me lost in the swirling tornado of ideas.

 

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Regardless of what it is… my blog is for sharing art.  And yes, ideas too.  But until I can focus on those ideas, get a handle on what exactly they are, the art will have to do.  Some of my thoughts are too personal to share on a blog…  there’s a vulnerable quotient to being so transparent, especially since clarity right now is exactly the issue at hand. Until the dust settles and I can see what the hell is going on, these mandalas seem to be serving as my touchstone. Because right now, it’s as if everytime I look away, someone keeps moving the furniture and my only safe zone is drawing.

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Is it possible to be drawing for your life?

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