Sunday, January 31, 2016

Meditation Painting Class

"I just want to live an authentic life, create things, and be happy"
(photo by Aimee at Heartseed Studio)


This is what I told my good friend/mentor during a conversation several weeks ago.  I was being my usual dramatic, discontented self when he cut in to ask, "Do you ever create art based on what you are feeling?"
"Nope, definitely not." I responded matter of factly,  "I don't make that kind of art because I don't think that way.  I'm an industrial designer," I reminded him, "I create things that solve problems or have a purpose."
And he said, "Well, if you don't change the way you think, how can you change the way you live?"
Boom.
Point taken, but am I even capable of making art with no discernable purpose?
Just the thought of sitting down with a paint palette, a blank canvas, and no direction is extremely uncomfortable.  I was marinating on this awkward idea when I read about a Soul Art Meditation Workshop at Heartseed Studio.  The class description begins with, "Join us for 2 relaxing hours of intuitive painting..."
So that's different.
I would be completely out of my element in this class, but maybe that's exactly what I needed.  Growth is uncomfortable, right?  I'm (trying really hard to become) a firm believer in the idea that opportunities arise for everything we need and we just have to be open to them.
Whelp, here is an opportunity to change the way I think.
I decided to roll with it and signed up for the workshop.
The teacher, Amber, is very familiar with meditation and did a great job leading. We took the first part of class to meditate and clear our minds, focusing on our inner light.  At first I was very uncomfortable, but as I sat in the quiet it slowly began to happen. The internal chatter died away and for some reason, pearls came to mind.  I focused on this mental illustration and how it made me feel: a vivid image of warm, glowing pearls full of ancient knowledge resting on a sandy ocean floor rocking gently in the current of deep, soothing indigo water.  Weird.
Without the constraints of to-do lists and problems to solve, my mind was free to go wherever it wanted.  Maybe my mind always has stories like this to tell, but I've never stopped to listen.

The finished painting is not my cup of tea: you'll never find this hanging on my living room wall.
The experience however, was so unique and unlike anything I've ever done.  As I painted the water current, my hands fell into a pattern that felt almost meditative, even the soft sweeping sound of the brush strokes became constant and current like. I didn't walk out of class transformed or enlightened, but I did feel a shift, and that's what art is all about, right?

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