From my dream journal sketchbook/ Elaine Claytoncopyright 2014
It is worth while to get into the habit of remaining in the hypnogogic state upon waking. This is when you are still completely relaxed, and may have visions or have realizations that emerge without any effort on your part. What dreaming offers has a way of continuing to offer even in waking moments, even beyond the hypnogogic state. Once you’re moving around with daily tasks, you can still slip into that relaxed and blissful state of receiving.
Detail from Shabbat, Autumn Elaine Clayton copyright 2014
Even though it is about 5 degrees outside and frozen snow is stiff, like white styrofoam, covering every surface, the trees are singing to me. I am painting the colors of emotion and thought, the colors of memory and dreams. The gray bare limbs I see out the window become bright and vibrant in my studio, I am inspired. Winter whispers to me, snow falling or on the ground lulls me into another realm where anything good is possible.
Today I just realized that I think trees have Near Death Experiences. Or rather, they leave the earth in winter and go to heaven until spring, when they bring all the colors, magic, love and abundance from heaven back to us on earth. The only ones who do not do this are the everlasting evergreens who for some reason have volunteered to remain with us all throughout the winter, to nurture us and make the air smell so green and good. They’re noble for that, so I think I’ll go give one a sappy hug. You, too?
The unfinished galley of my new book due out in May, MAKING MARKS
Whenever I read Near Death Experiences, I think of what a powerful teacher a ”life review” is. Life reviews are common in many of NDEs. This is when you see your entire life as a movie, either every scene or very important ones, and you not only see yourself interacting with others, you feel everything the other people around you were feeling. People who experience this say that they re-emerge (after becoming conscious again) with so much more compassion and concern for others and it helps them love life more. Another thing I often read is that such NDE experiences make people want to live life to the fullest, appreciating each moment.
This new book of mine coming out in May is an expression of so much of what I love about life because the book’s truest message is about empathy for others and living life to the fullest —creative self-expression combined with empathy, for me, is the ultimate way to LOVE each moment of every day! We make our marks, we live and interact, and if we can create while we support and love others, what could be better? (I want to have a life-review, when I leave the earth, that I could feel good about, and all that matters is loving others and creating and generating good things, even if learning to be truly loving is not easy, I want to be better as each day goes by.)
My wish for the New Year is to develop more empathy and be more creative, knowing that the creative expression of others is a great gift to me and to celebrate that with every breath I take.
Jackie/ ink and brush/ Elaine Clayton copyright 2010
I used to love sketching Jackie. She had terrific features to zero in on. And big hair. Finding something or someone you’d like to draw is a good part of having the desire and motivation to draw, to get to and at something through mark-making, through exploring and deriving. It feels like you can almost capture a spirit into your hands for a moment, or alter your immediate surroundings.
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.
Detail from a recent intuitive stream drawing reading/ copyright Elaine Clayton 2013
In a recent visual-intuitive meditation, using drawing to access intuitive knowledge (I share this method in my book, MAKING MARKS: Discover the Art of Intuitive Drawing/Simon and Schuster/Beyond Words due out in May), I saw in a past position, a figure with the #2 (see in brown color) which to me signifies “daughter” or sisterhood, as well as some other associations. A beach scene appeared. All the associations of beachiness (not a real word, but it works here!) came to mind: the feeling of recreation, childhood dreams and sunny days. There is a large wave approaching, which didn’t feel scary, but more like the way life moves us on, away from our carefree days and into the rest of life. I enjoyed coloring in this beach scene, but it is only one way to perceive the shapes and lines. When sharing this with the client, it resonated for her in that she had many beach memories and it gave her a chance to see ways in which the good times in life were stored within her, no matter what else life brought (amongst other meanings that came to her).
Mary and Martha/ painted sketch/ Elaine Clayton copyright 2013
I am studying Torah and taking Hebrew and LOVE IT. I recently had an exchange with the very brilliant Jewish scholar and author of several books, including The Jewish Annotated New Testament, Amy-Jill Levine. Her work helps bridge a gap of misunderstanding between two traditions that spring from the same source, Judaism and Christianity. Her concentration and love of this study has improved how we see and read the New Testament and I am so grateful that she dedicated herself to it for everyone’s benefit. I was recently called a “Bridge Person” myself by a rabbi and I think I am that, actually having had a meditation recently where I am on a bridge that connects the two religions. When I asked Ms. Levine what she liked most in the NT, one was the story of Mary and Martha. I admit that I have to actually study it myself to see what I think of it, but I enjoyed painting Mary as she is on her way to see Jesus while her sister Martha remains behind preparing food. I would probably relate more to Mary as I’m not always enthralled with preparing food, but am getting better as time goes by.
I love doing mono prints because you never know how they’ll come out and often the imagery surprises. This, similar to the technic I developed which I call “intuitive stream drawing” gives you a chance to use your intuitive sensing when perceiving the meaning in the image. In this recent mono print, I had painted some human figures and when I used the brayer (my favorite art tool besides a a sharp B-6 or fine-point sable brush) and pulled the paper away, I saw a centaur there. It lead me to read about them and to imagine as I have in the past, what it would feel like to be half-human and half-horse. I particularly like that centaurs in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia were excellent star-gazers. In my own mind, like horses, centaurs would be majestic, powerful, not entirely bound by human weaknesses and playful. If you rode one, you’d be going where they would like to go as opposed to putting a bridle on a horse. Intuitively, I took this to mean something to me about self-direction and the power of free will to choose well, always gazing upward at the stars, wishing my choices to be centered on love.
Detail from a recent Intuitive Stream Drawing/ Elaine Clayton copyright 2013
There is a technique for intuitive discoveries that I developed, and I call it “intuitive stream drawing”. Often in my meditations prior to an intuitive reading sessions, animal imagery appears somewhere in the intuitive stream drawing (these are created while I’m alone, before a session begins). In this one, at the crown and 3rd eye, there is a fierce rhino facing the past. This to me has to do with desire and the fierce look may say, “desire is threatened” or “I am going to have what I desire!” or possibly there is anger from a past experience in where a particular desire was taken away. Since the crown chakra and the 3rd eye chakra have to do with awareness of the presence of the divine within, and how it is recognized and attuned with the self, this single (of many possible) interpretation of this intuitive stream drawing makes me want to talk about getting assertive about any past event that holds a threat in regard to creating and having what the soul desires moving forward. There are many other ways to look at it.
Below we see what may be a fox–it could be a cat. The fox is a terrific symbol. I almost ran over one a few evenings ago and thought, “Time to become invisible”. Fox in Native American animal wisdom can be about “becoming invisible”—since this is a huge fox and it’s in the heart and solar chakra it feels like the need to be unseen in matters of love and even in terms of home life in some way. If it’s a cat, I feel it has something to do with intuition, the mysterious aspects of life– and possibly about trust. We can’t train or control a cat, and so it is in matters of love in some ways, there is no way to control others or make everything go the way we’d like. Fox and Cat could indicate many other things as well. Interpreting intuitive stream drawings is wonderful because it gives us a chance to explore the meanings and to discover which one is most powerful for the client personally.
More about intuitive stream drawings in my new book MAKING MARKS: Discover the Art of Intuitive Stream Drawings (Simon and Schuster/ Beyond Words due out 2014)