I started the Muse painting at the gathering at Musea Sophia in Sonoma in March. It was such a delightful experience for me to be at the in-person gathering with others on the Red Thread who were beginning the Color of Woman training. I was excited. The room was full of energy. It was a “now” moment to absorb as much of the 13-step process as possible. It was a time to feel my own insecurities, explore my own story and to be stirred in my passion for using creativity for transformation. My original word from the opening circle was “present.” Be present to the now, not the past, not waiting for the future (for when things change.)
The time went by very quickly. I am used to taking the time I need to accomplish each step and this was an accelerated version to get the painting “done” in 2-3 days. I did work through all the steps, yet my painting was unresolved. I took it back to Colorado to flesh out things like symbols and illumination. I was inspired by the variation in the results of all the others there. We all got the same instruction and we each painted something totally different. That is one of the things that confirms that the process works. Each person goes on their own journey for insight and brings a unique expression of it into form.
Stepping through my process
My muse speaks to me within an inquiry about access to my own information and that of the Divine which wants to be revealed. It is an exploration into the hidden domains of my being. The muse empowers me to address each day’s part of the journey and to be able to use alchemical means to be proactive and ready for the unfolding.
From what directions do I detect information coming to me?
Certainly from above or from God, my Divine Source. From my eyes as a primary source, from my ears, my hands, concepts to my mind that shape my thinking. But what about my heart as the main organ of perception? I think my contemplative outlook and practices help me to involve the heart to a greater extent than if I had a non-contemplative lifestyle. I am thankful that I am accustomed to listening within and pausing to notice things. I look forward to becoming much keener in listening as I continue on this deep-diving journey through Intentional Creativity.
Do I know how to decode the things my heart wants to show me? This is what the muse wants to teach me.
In the first visioning the cosmos is my portal and spiral stardust is my path. There is an old retro stone building (perhaps made of individual rocks) and it is a studio. It is like a printmaking studio and I know I will work in there. It is clean and ready. Over the door is “Beloved are those who enter.” I enter a warm welcoming space with a smile. My name is called liltingly like Aunt Ida would, “Jenn-ni-fer!” I sit at a very small table for good coffee with cream with my muse. She has dark hair and and her eyes sparkle. She has been waiting for me and looks at me lovingly and at some point takes my hand. She has a resemblance to my friend, Juanita R. She wants to know how I am. I feel loved and that she really wants to hear me. She is dressed in layers and color and jewelry.
My intention arises and I write it on the canvas in charcoal:
“I hear you call my name and I am here to be known, and to discover what is mine to know.”
I chose 3 colors for the portal. Yellow, thinking the muse had a yellow jacket on in the visioning, then green and turquoise. One of the new friends I sat with at lunch said maybe my portal was a yellow rose. I hadn’t thought of it looking like that before, but the rose is a symbol that is significant to me.
Her simple form appears
I followed Shiloh’s demo of bringing the simple form with access lines and the iconic face, leaving space for other elements later. My idea is to follow her templates closely to learn them well before I launch out on my own brand of it or take on it. I pay close attention to what she is saying while she is doing the demo. I want to catch it all and absorb it so I am not hung up on getting it right, but just have it downloaded on the inside to work with naturally.
Time to journey. What are my own unique ways of knowing and access?
In this visioning I had an impression of energy flowing and swirling around me. There was a heightened awareness and response (even physically like the hair on the back of my neck standing up and the sides of my neck being brushed. I felt my heart swelling up, having an epiphany. There was a release or letting go intentionally or unintentionally. There was a sense of being loved, both a calming and a quickening.
These are the phrases that I think of about where I find access:
-Inner stories. Deep heart space and realizations that arise from this spacious realm which contains knowing from experience
-Spiritual access linked to clouds and sky and open spaces. Spaciousness of the daytime or nighttime sky which is a reminder of the greater mystery
-Holy Spirit guiding
-So much is happening that I detect, but can’t actually see with my physical eyes
-A word or phrase, a sentence, a concept that I hear that strikes me, or that arises and occurs to me
-Reading those who speak to me in their writing
-Pausing—perhaps that’s where that space is created or at least noticed
-The space between 2 hearts (Richard Rohr talks about the space between the Trinity in their circle dance, the space where relationship happens) Maybe space is not all rest and pause and wait. Perhaps it requires a certain energy or contains a certain energy.
Perhaps it’s where the energy exchange takes place—the giving, the receiving, the witnessing, the little adjustments in the path. Perhaps it’s when the deep heart space connects to the really real. Perhaps there’s a space in the heart where there are realms of knowing from experiences contained there.
-Setting aside time for something like a creative practice or spiritual practice
-Showing up to the unknown in a small to a big way
-Even joining a group, signing up for a class or an event, and being all in—making space for it and for the people
-Noticing something, really noticing mindfully
-Prayer and listening
-Reminders like breathing, eating, drinking and physical metaphors
-Gardening, the physicality of it as well as all its metaphors
-Walking the labyrinth—unique each time for a different experience
-Places of wilderness, barrenness in my soul and in the season
-Rituals and experiential reflective stations
-The dark rudimentary elements of earth and soil
-Nature in every way, mountains, ocean, trees
-A connection with another person or group
-Seeing faithfulness or fulfillment after all
Source and Spirit uses every avenue I know of and ways I am not aware of, to connect me, to bring me back to knowing my own preciousness and my simple beingness.
What does this muse embrace?
- The season
- The wind (even the wind of change)
- The present year of age
- The body
- The next step
- Allowing something to happen-not controlling it
- Inner knowing
- Wherever the moment of sweetness is
- Light when it breaks through
- Warmth and its comfort and freedom
- The buzz of bees that make the honey
- The earth
- The trees
- Inner terrain to be explored
- The mystery
- This very moment
What does she want to say to me?
She tells me:
“Things are unlimited. You are unlimited. Keep going. Pause and be present to the space where things happen.”
After the long drive home to CO, I looked at my Muse anew to observe her. She seems to be looking more inwardly than outward. Perhaps there’s an equal focus, but it shifts from one to the other. She is very quiet, noticing, listening, contemplating—waiting for illumination.
I believe she is giving me more of a needed connection to the earth. Her golden rivers go through and over the top of the helmet/hive shape on her head. She wears a beehive full of honeycomb. (There is a pun here about a beehive hairdo. No need to take myself so seriously!) Honey is pouring on her head and face. There is sweetness to be noticed and to be had. There is spaciousness above her head suggesting greater realms to connect to.
Grandmothers appear to help her, along with written words that sink deep into her heart. In her heart is the rose of her own self opening up, and as a symbol of deep revelation happening.
I found that a couple of times I dreamed about paintings and Color of Women stuff. It is so on my mind. I think I dreamed the idea of walking through an alchemical forest. It was a powerful experience. It’s a place that is full of mystery and filtered light. When you come through to the other side change has happened. I wanted to include it in the Muse painting as a symbol of revelation, discovery and transformation.
She is surrounded by the alchemical forest. I wish I could make it (in paint) as powerful of a symbol of potentiality as I see it to be. It is a place you would gasp as you walk into, but soon you are seeing filtered light and following a path. The trunks of the trees have become paint brushes indicating the importance of the 13-step painting process in the alchemical transformation. They drip blue paint, a metaphor of bringing the past story into form.
Winding through the sacred triangles and circles of her earrings there is a line dropping down from her mind into the deep lake of unknowing. Or it could be that it is the lake of what she does know within, but doesn’t realize yet. She must bring inquiry to it. The question mark of inquiry is the hook on the end of the line lowering into the water.
She glows in sunset colors, but she has cool translucent gossamer bee wings. What will it take to lift her up so that she soars? This is almost a sad question for her, as though it is wishful thinking or wistful.
One thing she is doing is releasing the house of disappointment and the dancing figure of longing. The wispy smoke rises from the house of disappointment and floats upward in a spiral, part of consciousness, but dissipating. The bare tree limbs reach into her heart as more of a reminder of her story than an active current pain.
Se has what she needs to feast on the sweetness of life that is all around her— and that comes to her as she dwells in the spaciousness of the places of access to her knowing and her Divine connection. She lives here instead of dwelling in the past hurt of broken relationships and what never happened and the losses She trusts that this journey into the alchemical forest is a special gift—a journey of transformation, even though it can be dark and mysterious and sometimes daunting.
I give her the pen and she says:
There is a place of knowing that is part of you and part mystery. It needs to exist in the present for that is where true life happens. The past has shaped you, but it does not shape your future. You do. There is sweetness in this moment.—sweetness to experience, with your soul, your senses, and your mind as your brain is rewired. Have courage to walk through the alchemical forest, knowing there is a shift that will happen by the time you get through to the other side. And know it is not a one-time experience. It can happen over and over as you choose to enter. The path of inquiry will carry you to deeper understanding in all that is yours to know. You have teachers, guides, your collaborators and friends, and there are those you are yet to meet. There are bees busy in your bonnet. They are producing something sweet. Some sweet things come as ideas. Let go of the sadness so that your natural gift of equanimity can assist you in the things you think are too hard. You are designed to lift off the ground and see far distances. Your visioning of the big picture has been a gift in service to your community. You have more than one realm, though. You also deep dive into Source and sometimes dematerialize into spaciousness. You’ve wondered what is real your whole life and how these realms work. They all connect you to the Really Real. Do not grow weary. You need to pace yourself in a sustainable rhythm. Care for yourself so you can keep pace. Your sadness will be transformed as you move through. God is with you. Let yourself go and let the fear go. You are learning to walk with even more intention and focused purpose.
Upon further reflection
I’ve worked more on finishing her now (after months of being away from home while caring for my mom) and I’m ready to let her rest. I have some final reflections:
Most of the time the unseen world is the Really Real. Sometimes the outer world reflects it in a portion or in a metaphor or in a flash of insight or in a sensory impression. Emotion often cannot always be trusted, but can be followed to find the story attached to it. All of the ways of access provide what I need to know to move into more and more freedom. Freedom offers the choice to live from love—and the choice to receive love. I hope to partner with my unlimited Divine Source and my own wisdom to live freer and freer, to partner with my Beloveds in offering a process of access, and to joyfully continue this journey of bitter and sweet and choosing joy in the midst.