Painting in progress copyright Elaine Clayton 2015
Sometimes I think we focus on problems or aspirations with such intensity, it kills the thing altogether. Going into a “soft focus” approach is better. I know if I’m forcing something, I’m not in alignment with my wellbeing. I can tell easily because I get angry, distressed, wildly fixated. I do this intense push and wrangle because many aspects of life are a struggle. Growing is a struggle. Having integrity is a struggle. Defending children is a struggle. Becoming the new me is a struggle. And then I realize, in quieter moments, that all my life I’ve taken a pencil and paper and gone into a quiet world where I relaxed as I listened to the sound of the pencil as I drew people who seemed to arrive before me effortlessly. Then I’d hear the people I was drawing talking; about their preferences, their situations, their ideas. And before I knew it, I was feeling peaceful inside. I can tell you that a lot of great things have happened in my life, not because of the difficult struggle or fight to achieve something, but because of the effortless relaxation into soft focus on the things which bothered me or the things I most desired. In other words, I’d focus intently at first on what I wanted fixed or wished for, and then I slipped into another very relaxing place inside myself where all was perfectly wonderful, and into a mode where I became happy to be a creator. I felt great from head to toe and even beyond physical self if you know what I mean, like a glow was all around me. And eventually, most all things I’ve hoped for have come into fruition. Sometimes well after I have wanted it, I must admit– that’s God’s little joke, I think–we do get what we ask for but often not when we want it. But it doesn’t matter, all that matters is my ability to take what life gives me and find myself or create myself into a peaceful place.
Try focusing very intently on whatever you want relief from or whatever it is you most desire, and then let that intensity meld into your being and become a soft-focus place within you. Let it drift like a cloud carrying your desires and worries away. Know it will all come out right for you, and that the more at peace you are within yourself, the easier everything becomes!
A recent Spirit Painting/ copyright Elaine Clayton 2014
I started a new dream journal so I can use the scenes, symbols and signs that come through in dreams to help guide me toward deeper consciousness this New Year. Conscious awareness will help me make choices that will truly be good for me, and will show me what I am doing to hold myself back. I think dreams do give us clues and, like intuitive stream drawing, dreams allow us to be on the river of our flowing unconscious knowledge. Some of the knowledge is mysteriously present (a small thing recently is that I dreamed a good friend from college days loves the candy known as Pop Rocks, and when I sent him a message about the dream, he told me in fact he does love Pop Rock candy–this may seem trivial, but why would I even dream that detail, and why was the information correct?). Some of the content is obvious, and I think we live somewhere in-between the mysterious and spiritual and the physical, psychological obviousness. With both aspects, we create our future and respond to events as they unfold.
I wish you a fantastic 2015!
This is a recent Spirit Painting commission Elaine Clayton copyright 2014
In a recent Spirit Painting commission, while meditating on the one who commissioned it, I felt the sense of deep inner peace commingling with movement and change and felt I was in a realm of the possible. Memories of the past blended with future visions of good days ahead, sunshine and a return to the sea. This painting took me on some adventures, but I still felt at peace inside through the many places and changes the painting the painting took me to. I felt as though the most real adventure is the internal one, and all external experiences are strongly influenced by how we perceive them. I felt a sense of grace and love while painting this, and it made me realize that when we feel grace and love inside, we bring that out into every place we go and to every person we meet. Then that inner peace truly is in our surroundings, as we are the host or vessel of that peace.
Detail from Plantagenet in Heaven copyright 2013 Elaine Clayton
He was with me, we were on a flying carpet, flying about 7th floor level through New York City, we could see into apartments, my dog and I. And one person, a young woman in her twenties, was delighted to see us as we flew on soft air currents by her window at eye level to her. Plantaganet was beside me, as he had been for so many years. Sometimes now I think I feel him beside me, in dreams and during moments when I least expect it.
If you’ve had a pet that is no longer on earth, have this pet appeared to you in dreams or visions or in other ways? I’d love to hear about hit. They all go straight up to heaven, we know it.
Ken’s Spirit copyright Elaine Clayton 2013
Life is sacred, when we engage with it as sacred. Every leaf, every speck is full of vibrance–the Spirit of Life is everywhere. I painted this thinking of my brother Ken and his richly poetic way of weaving words and images and stories into visions of humorous and life-enhacing awareness. He has inspired me and many to recognize the living spirit in my surroundings.
Elaine Clayton copyright 2013 / monoprint with water color wash
More than before, I find that during intuitive healing sessions, people feel gloomy about the future. College age kids, for example, are facing huge debts and no jobs seem available. How can we create anew when the resources seem nonexistent?
It’s true, it is difficult. We are living in days that are full of turmoil and edgy circumstances, the feeling of “what next?” is always stirring. The macrocosm can be perceived as a vast sea of doom: imploding dramas, unfolding scenes of war, extreme weather, political strife and even children are a part of the cruelty in some horrific circumstances. And all of it lapping up against us personally as we sail along in our own little boats, trying to stay afloat or get where we’re going. We try to be seaworthy, listening to our sense of truth (our inner divine nature, our intuition) letting the wind guide us as we navigate. And though these miseries are rocking our boats, there is still the microcosm which is our own inner universe. This is a different kind of seascape. This inner universe is affected by the outer but the deeper in we go, the more we are able to consciously, from the inside out, envision a world we choose. As we create inwardly, we see over time the more “real” this can become outside of us. Using meditation, creative visualization and recording dreams, we may find that some measure of hope and renewal can be grasped even against the worst, most unimaginable circumstances. We can create an inner realm where all is well, and where we see ourselves as a part of peace, abundance, miracles coming true, the impossible as possible. And instead of feeling defeated by the huge problems we feel invading our vessels and our souls, we can be part of a wondrous change.
I nurture my sense of “going inward” often by read accounts of Near Death Experiences. They have always fascinated me and over and over we are told by those who have had a glimpse of what happens when we die, the same truths revealed. The main message seems to be that if we focus on small acts of kindness, being true in our personal relationships and attending to or loving others the best we can, we will have learned well.
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Spirit Painting/ copyright 2010 Elaine Clayton
Commissions for Spirit Paintings come in throughout the year. I consider it a privilege to offer this as a healing art, as each painting is created in meditation in honor of the recipient. I keep the commission fee lower than low for these so that really anyone who truly wants one could have one. No two are alike, just as no two people are exactly alike, and with each painting, a new and different image arrives. Sometimes there is a narrative feel, other times a symbolic kind of energy. My intention is to allow whatever would most benefit the recipient to emerge on canvas.
Spirit Painting / Elaine Clayton copyright 2013
We were created into being as creators in our own right. When I’m commissioned to do a Spirit Painting, I feel this. My intention is to create whatever would best serve the one it is being created for. It is a form of prayer, a meditation on behalf of that individual. Most are done for people I have never seen or met, so I have no idea what they like or what their internal aspirations are or anything. But I ask for imagery to flow through according to what would best serve that person.
I have always experienced a certain feeling while creating, and it is that of the thrill of enchantment, depth of emotion and excitement. There is an adventurous quality to creative work because the creative process is one that puts you in the moment without knowing where it will all go. In Genesis, when God created the world, there was the breath of life and the spoken word, to “be” and breathe and to state intention. In other words, I have to be in control enough to paint, but spontaneous enough to feel truly alive, so the artwork also, hopefully, feels truly alive. I believe being creative is to be open to the indwelling Spirit that breathes life into all of us. A painting needs to do the same, to not just reflect that spirit but to breathe life into the viewer. And only the viewer knows when this happens, and sometimes it doesn’t. But I won’t let a painting leave my studio if this has not happened, in fact I cannot paint unless I feel the stirring of the excitement and emotion, of breathing life into something while I work.
Into the Moon, Inward Journey Elaine Clayton copyright 2013
On earth, we learn in increments of time and space. We have a linear concept of life and life’s lessons (“first this happened, then that and now….”). And yet what once happened is no more than a shadow we revisit inwardly, a cinematic recording. We still learn from those recordings by remembering them, playing them in our minds, as we create our life forward. Yet love is not subject to time, love is present, forever, within ourselves and everyone and everything around us. Enlightenment is love entering our interactions; we exist in 3-D opportunities that, from moment-to-moment, become recorded “spiritual films” of our experiences. When love is ignored or made absent by our choices or the free will of others, we know it because it is a glimmer of hell. I want to be in that love that is pure light, and each situation in life gives me a chance to see where I still have shadows within.
Fu Dog /Acrylic and pastel on paper/ Elaine Clayton copyright 1997
I had a collie I very much loved as a child. I had a lot of deep emotions about this dog that I was not very conscious of having, and a dream along with another event healed me in unexpected ways. When I was about twenty five, I had a dream that I saw my collie, and I walked over, sat down and embraced him. I slowly realized that actually, he was a lion, not a dog. I felt I might be in danger hugging a lion like that. But then the dream switched, even though I was still in the same place. It was as if a screen was lowered to help me understand. A Chinese Fu dog, shimmering and magical, was dancing the most adorable dance. A few months later, I happened to walk by a pet store and desperately wanted to “rescue” one from the place. It was a furry fuzz ball of a puppy, but it seemed to pick ME. So I bought this dog and on the way out of the store, the attendant said to me, “Here’s a book that will tell you about this kind of dog.” I knew nothing, but looking at the little book saw that it was a Shi Tzu and inside it said, that this dog breed was known as Fu Dog or “Lion Dog”. I felt slammed by that, in a good way. I kept thinking, “What if my dream about my beloved dog from childhood was telling me that he was coming back in the form of a new dog, a protector, a lion. A lion dog?” Having this extremely interesting dream connection and the new dog in many ways healed me in that the dog provided companionship and unconditional devotion as well as a lesson in responsibility, grounding me. I still feel this dream and many others are spiritual signs and worth paying attention to. Over the years, my artwork has included Fu Dogs I like to connect to the feeling of synchronicity and guardianship, emotional and physical. (My current dog is a pug, also very much a Fu Dog, she literally dances and prances).