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!
Detail of a painting in progress copyright Elaine Clayton 2015
Sometimes a sense of knowing arrives in “angel time”, or in the blink of an eye–all of a sudden you just feel certain about something–it flows to you and you have no idea how you knew. For me, it is mostly a visual thing. I’ll see something in my mind’s eye, like a quick clip of a film. Often that very thing I’ve seen turns out to be true. Other times it is a feeling in my solar plexus or heart–a kind of “Oh, yes. I see.” It really is fascinating to me. I once heard someone say that sound carries across water for miles. I thought of how we are made mostly of water and said, “If sound moves across water at a great distance, and we are made mostly of water, then there are no secrets in the world.” And you know, I think whatever is hidden almost always comes to light, eventually. You may sense it before you have the “proof” or you may be quietly aware. And eventually, you’ll see; what is will be known. It will be known in the blink of an eye.
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.
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!
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.
Spirit Painting for Niki/ Copyright 2011 Elaine Clayton
I create these painted meditations in honor of the one who commissioned them (unless they ask for me to paint it for someone in particular). I focus from the heart and paint what feels like emerging, and it is a very beautiful process. I wish we were all raised to “think from the heart” more in life, rather than being conditioned to be primarily rewarded for being rational and logical. Thinking from the heart gives me the feeling, not just the words, but the feeling, of “being one” with others. It is a sensation of calm and peace and excitement and the feeling that all good dreams can come true. Especially if we, from the heart, support one another in becoming aligned with Source, with our deepest sense of wellbeing.
Well, it’s October and the cycle of life brings us to change, autumnal transformation. The leaves are dappled with orange and the air whispers cooly into our ears. Creating comes in cycles, too–there are seasons of ruminating on ideas, like a spring time within the imagination. And then summery dreams of wonderment and work, getting the ideas into material form. Autumn is for reflecting on what has been created and where it will go next. Winter-what is winter in the creative process? It would seem to suggest death–cold, frigid and painful, dark days. It’s the beginning, though, of allowing new life experiences and new ideas to stir in the heart and soul. All of these seasons of life and of creating are about becoming. Becoming new, becoming alive, becoming what we’d most desire to be, feel and do. It is not comfortable at times, transforming and creating ourselves into new life experiences, new ways of perceiving ourselves within the world, but it is undeniable. There is no escaping change. It is our true state of being, to be changing and moving through seasons.
I had stepped away from Illuminara.com for a while, after 7 years of creating posts each day, it was time to have that rest, the sabbatical, to renew from within. I look forward to new ideas, art and life experiences urging me to grow, and I hope you’ll share your thoughts and feelings on the art I post. It has been such a privilege to be with all of you in this spiritual cyber land! Let’s see what changes and create ourselves into all good things, dreams come true.
Dreaming Under the Trees / Elaine Clayton 2015 at Art/Place Gallery “Fresh” Exhibition
Song of the leaves of time and shadow,
Written in the hearts of humankind
A Light, a Truth
A strange dream
a separation of self
Sleep, and wake
Wake up to Yourself.