Hidden in the Trees/ Detail from a recent painting/ Elaine Clayton copyright 2015
At Paideia School years ago, I remember smiling with a colleague while watching young children at play in the classroom. When they did something they should not, they had the idea that they were invisible, unobserved and could get away with what they were doing. It was kind of cute to see that innocent children did not know any better and we knew they would be learning to become conscious of what they were doing, sometimes through hard lessons, gradually as they grew.
It’s not so cute when adults hide, sneak, lie and live in deception, come what may and no matter who it damages along the way. Nothing is really a secret for long, someone always knows and in the end the truth always comes out. And hopefully adults who deceive and betray others will learn (probably the hard way) not to think of themselves as invisible, like a naughty child. It takes strength of character not to exploit others through deceit: ultimately it is a betrayal of self to the self. If our choices and actions dishonor others, we grossly dishonor ourselves.
Detail of a recent painting/ Elaine Clayton copyright 2015
Majestic, sensitive, powerful. Horses seem to know what you’re thinking, they pick up on how you feel. There is a quality of spiritual opportunity about them. Riding them makes you feel closer to the sky, taller than human and grounded in your power. This horse just appeared–the head and neck were something I “found” when looking at random brush strokes, so I filled in the rest. I love it when horses show up.
Detail from a recent Spirit Painting/ Elaine Clayton copyright 2015
I think of unconditional love, obedience, companionship, loyalty and protection when I think of dogs, and especially when they show up in meditation or appear in intuitive stream drawings. You might have other things to add to my list, personal meanings you hold and associate with dogs. Dream symbology is great to explore since it can lead to insightful personal and universal truths. In this recent Spirit Painting, a well groomed dog (poodle) shows it can sit up, beg (for a treat?) and embodies training and grooming. This is a cultivated dog. I wonder what are the things I cultivate in my life? What has my attention, and what do I nurture? The saying, “You reap what you sow” makes me think that what we nurture and cultivate yields fruits for us, so it better be things we intend to nurture and cultivate but I am certain we unconsciously give a lot of time and space to things that will end us up in not so good places. Becoming conscious of how we use our energy in the way of thoughts, plans, emotions, ideas, etc. is a pretty good idea. If you’ve had dogs in dreams, I’d love to hear about it!
Detail of a recent Spirit Painting/ Elaine Clayton copyright 2015
Memories like to cling to us, or we cling to them. Next time you find yourself stuck in a moment of remembering something painful from the past (often it is the not-so-good memories that surface, maybe because we are holding on to something unresolved in them), try to imagine yourself holding a beautiful bird. Sift through the memory and allow yourself to feel the emotion and review your thoughts of the memory while gently holding this beautiful bird. Picture it however you like, long or short feathers, exotic or ordinary colors, etc.. Then tell the bird you’re holding in your mind to carry this memory into the sky so you don’t have to carry it anymore. Imagine the pain of the memory transforming you, taking flight to become something else within you–maybe a new strength for having endured something difficult, maybe an acceptance of that which you cannot fix or control. Whatever it is, release it with this magnificent bird and follow the bird if you like, in your meditation. Tell me what happens!
Detail of a recent painting, “Eve’s Dream of a Deadly Vine” / Elaine Clayton copyright 2015
In what ways have you ever entrapped yourself? There is a Native American saying I love: “Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth.” It’s that simple, or at least following that simple sounding wisdom makes room for integrity, clarity and a feeling of lightness that is impossible to feel when burdened or ensnared by self deception. In this series, a visual midrash, “Eve’s Dreams”, I am exploring ways in which we pine for Paradise, and can ensnare ourselves in illusion and misery very easily. It is a painful place to put ourselves, most of us know what it feels like. And it is much more difficult to disentangle than it is to never become entangled in the first place. We seem to do it until we learn not to .
detail of a recent painting/ Elaine Clayton copyright 2015
Abraham Joshua Heschel, in his book, The Sabbath, writes, “What is the Sabbath? Spirit in the form of time.”
I have been thinking that time is what every interaction and relationship is founded on–we think we have lots of time with each other, with those we love, with certain situations—but we don’t. On earth, everything passes. Time has a preciousness to it when we realize that. But I have found that I did not always realize this. We are ruled by time, we rush here and there and let our sense of time run our lives through our schedules. But what do we do to sanctify or make holy our sense of “time”? In dreams, and in Near Death Experiences, there is often a remarkable feeling that there is no time–it is more that there is a presence of being, a feeling of “now” as in all-encompassing now.
I remember during a very hard time decades ago, I read about the Shechinah, the Eternal Bride who is welcomed at Sabbath. I knew inwardly that inside each of us, there is an eternal bride waiting to be greeted, celebrated and loved. A new beginning every moment, an everlasting essence within.
What do you do to bring yourself to a place of sacred time? Where do you go, or how do you find the peace that says not all time is about schedules and rules and goals and whatever else we’ve made it to be?