Elaine Clayton copyright 2015
The journey of a master is to seek a path and take life for the adventure it is: an opportunity to be uncomfortable toward a greater destination. In the Shabbat Siddur, a favorite phrase of mine is something like this: “We don’t like changing, but God loves becoming.” Each moment, we are disturbed toward something new, becoming and expanding. Now and now and now and now.
In my dream last night, I could fly and hover over places, over snow banks. I didn’t worry about falling because I could assume good form, like in the gymnastics I did for years, and control my body so that as I fell, I’d be in such a position as graceful as a swan dive, for example. And that would cause me to once again hover, and not go crashing down. The dream felt like elation! It tells me that as I control my responses to life situations, choosing how I want to think and feel, I get stronger and more graceful. I’m not bragging–I have a long way to go. It is just that I have noticed that within myself I am able to use “good form” to stay afloat and even in a kind of bliss–we can’t control things in life, but we can shape ourselves into being who we choose to be, no matter what.
Memories and Thoughts/ Elaine Clayton copyright 2015
Thoughts float in, and float out. Some stay. Some have stayed for so long, like decades (especially ideas about ourselves that we got long ago at school or home when we were growing up) that we think they define us. Noticing my thoughts, and the powerful emotions that come with them, is the first step in choosing which thoughts I want to generate, cultivate and keep. Painting and creating stream drawings is a way to let thoughts glide in, notice them and the feelings that come with them, and allow them to flow out. If they’re not pleasant thoughts, it feels great to let them glide on by. If they’re wonderful thoughts, then I play with them, feeling them in the present moment.
Stream draw a little today to get that feeling of bliss in the way of thoughts and feeling. It will change your life. Close your eyes, use your non-dominant hand and start drawing loosely. It feels like flying. Open your eyes when you’ve finished and see what it looks like–and play with the images a little. To learn more about stream drawing and intuitive stream drawing, click here!
A painting commissioned by Heather Strauch A Different Approach PT Elaine Clayton copyright 2015
In autumn, do you find yourself reflecting on the past summer, and those spring days before summer? I do. There is something about falling leaves, they’re like letters written carefully, sentimental notations of days gone by. Each leaf twirling down in a blaze of yellow or red, a poem of something written somewhere in our hearts and minds, of time that was spent. I think, “How have I spent my time? Was it filled with love? Was it filled with learning? Was it filled with desire? Was it filled with sadness or regret?” I learned long ago never to let anything but love come between me and just about anyone or anything, and so I no longer feel a sickly sad feeling when I contemplate time I’ve spent upon reflection. I focus instead on the love or the gift in a relationship or situation. Is this easy to do? No, but it is better than watching leaves come down and feeling sorrow. There is no time for so much sorrow. Only time for clarity, joy and celebrating. Maybe the leaves coming down are actually confetti and there is a big party taking place.
Detail of a recent painting in progress copyright Elaine Clayton 2015
Today, there is an egret on my head. Or some mysteriously placid bird like an egret. I am intentionally placing peace, serenity and something else (maybe it can be thought of as a kind of quiet dignity?) on my mind. We cannot control circumstances or other people, nor should we. But we can control our emotions and thoughts, by choosing our response to given conditions and by being at peace within and of ourselves.
I’ll let you know how it goes. If you try it, let me know!
Also, to listen to a recent interview I had with Eldon Taylor (who helps others along with Ravinder Taylor, to get good inner-talk messaging into the mind) on his fabulous radio show, Provocative Enlightenment, click here.
Detail of a recent painting copyright Elaine Clayton 2015
I am feeling, lighting up and waking up more and more, to a sense that life constantly presents us with ways to see ourselves without ego, or false persona. What is a persona? Is it the things we tell ourselves we are? Is it the facade we present to the world? Through our choices and actions, we show who we truly are, and hopefully the responses we get in return will help us see who we are, and in that, there can be a chance for developing consciousness. That’s important because, otherwise we do things without really thinking or feeling–perhaps out of fear or out of the need to gratify the ego (the voice that tells who you it thinks you are: “I’m so powerful”, “I’m so sexy”, “I’m so smart” etc., whatever the ego wants to have us believe about ourselves). Living consciously is like going through darkness with a candle lit. Living without consciousness is stumbling around in the darkness, bumping into others who are also stumbling in the darkness.
Light the candle that will show you how to move, to choose and to see, rather than getting deeper into negative experiences.
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
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?
Pre-register now and join us in NYC at the wellness center on 5th Ave this May 16th from 4-6 pm. We will be using the methods shared in MAKING MARKS: Discover the Art of Intuitive Drawing. You will be taking the necessary steps toward building a personal, visual-intuitive language: drawing with emotion, gazing at the marks made, trusting what comes to you and then discovering and connecting what you see in your drawing with life situations and events.
“MAKING MARKS shows how a universal urge to make marks can be a doorway to dimensions of consciousness of which we’re unaware in our waking life. Want to unleash your inner Picasso or Paul Klee? Read Clayton’s captivating book!” –Dr. Larry Dossey, MD, author of One Mind and The Science of Premonitions
Before and After images: The same intuitive stream drawing above, drawn and then shaded in to show what I saw when I looked at it. I spoke of what penguin means to me personally, sharing my intuitive-visual language with her. I said they remind me of “good fathers” the way they take care of the eggs and stay with the family. This image had significant importance with the client who, after the session, told me she collects penguin images and they’re all over her house. And why did she collect penguin images? Because her main interest is in having a “good father” figure in her life, as a partner for having a family of her own. These are the kinds of wonderful, enjoyable but also deeply emotive things that can happen with creating stream drawings.
Register for this workshop through www.illuminara.com or by emailing me directly at email@example.com
Elaine Clayton copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved
Come recapture drawing in a free-style way I call ” stream drawing” and allow your unconscious, creative, imagination flow into your hands and onto paper. This drawing event is at Fairfield University Bookstore on April 25th at 11 a.m.
This is from one of my many, many sketchbooks circa 1980s– that space between drawn figures asks to be played with
All through high school I was obsessed with the visual wonders seen in the space between things–known as “negative space”. I didn’t speak of this to anyone, but just watched the beauty of the contour of prople and how the shapes between people or people and things looked. Later, I’d draw people and apply what I had seen and use what I had stored up inside of my mind all day. The gentle gesture of a hand against a chair, with another person leaning beside the chair, for example, could create a wondrous harmony or even indicate a dynamic of emotion (do the figures move away from each other or lean in toward one another comfortably?). And people never knew this about themselves. They might look triumphant standing under a great arch, yet they may have even been having a rotten day, and feel utterly diminished when I’d want to tell them they were royal. The spaces between people and objects helped set up stages where things happened and do happen. My first day in art school, Maria Artemis (sculptor, teacher) spoke of this visual study, “negative space” and I knew I was home, it felt like I was in heaven, finally getting to study in-depth the thing I was interested in and not only that, others out there were also just as interested in this!