Daydreams–I think they make the world go ’round, or at least the daydreamer seems to notice the world in a way that being “on task” can block–we are so on task, we forget to sense, to truly see and feel. Stream drawing is one way to slip into your zone of creative, intuitive and empathic sensing. It’s an expressive, active way of “being still” rather than passively waiting for the beingness or stillness to arrive. Daydreams come and go, ideas, thoughts and feelings surface, all while you’re drawing as long as you draw with complete freedom and playfulness. Looking out the window and seeing the shapes and lines in the trees, sensing the mood in the light are also transportive and I think some of the best things happen when we daydream. It is a form of learning, one we don’t nurture in each other very much because we are conditioned to be more “useful”. At least if you’re daydreaming while drawing, you’ll be doing something. Not only the practice of drawing but the impact a simple act can have on our world strikes us all as very evident after the recent massacre of artists in Paris. Stream drawing does not require you, however, to do or be anything but just yourself, in that inner-realm place where the essence of the real you thrives. There are powerfully positive effects stream drawing can have on us. Draw for your sense of peace and creative sprightliness, and know that it is indeed a very, very powerful practice to do so, often in ways that will heal us and delightfully surprise us.
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!
A recent Spirit Painting
It may be cliche, but it is still true. Butterflies symbolize transformation and remind me of our own necessary transformations through the many stages of life. Even the phases of life we do not wish to change, and the times we cry out for change that will not come. All things do evolve, alter or transform in our material world in time. Change is inevitable, we may as well try to get through it and/or create it the way we would like it to be, as best we can.
A friend of mine recently witnessed several butterflies coming out of the chrysalis they inhabited, there were several all around the area where she lives. That is something I have not yet seen in nature, the butterfly emerging, letting it’s wings dry and then fluttering away. They seem so delicate, yet manage to travel great distances (at least the Monarch does). Like us, I suppose. Maybe someone is watching us transform with the same kind of mesmerized joy, rooting us on as we emerge, anew!
Wishing you the best transformations for 2015!
This is an intuitive stream drawing I have just started, so there are barely any notes on it yet. This is one of 4 views, a life experience view.
I am reflecting on this past year, as many of you are also, I’m sure. What was good about? What was hard about it? What were the highs and lows? How can I use everything that happened this past year (or at least those experiences which stand out for me) to help me grow stronger, wiser, more empowered and more forgiving and loving?
I did an intuitive stream drawing to see what would come up for me, and you can create one, too. Below is an example of an intuitive stream drawing I am in the process of seeing into, with a few notes on insights I got that surprised me and gave me new ways to look at some things. I want to be able to move forward into 2015 without anything holding me back, and being conscious of that which may, to my best ability, is essential for me now. The stream drawing’s life experience views (from left to right) showed that it is time to “wipe away tears of the past”–to consciously stop carrying whatever I may not have been aware of even carrying in the way of sadness (there will be a few things I will name to myself). A new doorway of opportunity ahead (an arch) also looks like the head of a puppy–for me dog signifies loyalty, companionship, protection, so I ask myself, “what/who am I loyal to and who/what deserves my loyalty?” amongst other questions, as I move forward into some new experiences. A heart stretching in to a new shape at the center is partially submerged, so becoming more conscious of flexibility in relationships is very, very important. There are specifics that relate to this that I am aware of and which are meaningful to me. I have yet to look at the two chakra chart views, that will be a lot of fun!
These are just some insights, there is no limit to the ways in which these symbols or shapes and lines can be interpreted, like dreams, they are multi-dimensional. I find it a fascinating way to explore self knowledge as a path to empathy and compassion toward others. If you create your own intuitive stream drawing for 2015, what might come up for you?!
To get a copy of the MAKING MARKS: Discover the Art of Intuitive Drawing book, click here.
Drawing freely, in that flowing and open practice that I call “stream drawing” or “intuitive stream drawing” feels so good. It allows us to be with our thoughts and feelings in a way that is as easy as breathing. While creating stream drawings (by drawing what feels good to draw, by closing your eyes or using your non-dominant hand because that helps loosen you up), the unconscious is allowed to arrive before you on the surface of the paper, through lines and shapes (which are very emotive to draw!), and feelings get worked out. Impressions and associations about life based on personal experience become more than just impressions we carry within, they become artfully expressed and may be the beginning of good new ideas, changes or resolutions. Sometimes we are not even aware of this happening, we simply enjoy the time we had drawing, it shifts the mood or enhances the feeling of empowerment. That’s because drawing is an act of self-will, it is a very powerful tool to use while you create yourself into a new year. Just draw what you like, draw what feels fun and easy for you and enjoy it!
This past weekend I was lucky enough to travel to Virginia to do readings and an intuitive stream drawing workshop (based on the intuitive method in my new book, MAKING MARKS: Discover the Art of Intuitive Drawing). At one point in the workshop, we broke into teams of two and did stream drawings for one another. I’d like to share what happened in my one-on-one with a partner. I told him I’d hold a concern in my mind and heart, but would not tell him what it was. He promised me he’d close his eyes and using his non-dominant hand, would draw in my honor, to help me (even though he didn’t know my concern, or know me at all). The drawing was very meaningful to me! My partner showed me his drawing and then shared with me what he saw in it, while gazing at it. He saw a mountain peak right away. It immediately spoke to me. He didn’t know it, but the concern I had was that of worry as a mother having a high school senior about to graduate to move on in life. I dreaded the mountain peak, which my partner said, “Has a snowcap.” Could it be that my son would go to a college very far away in the Northwest (I would prefer he not go so far away!)? This had been a worry of mine! see below, upper right snow cap image I validated that he was on the right track. Excited, I began to show him other things that I saw that was validation– we got into a fun and easy-going conversation about his stream drawing. We saw various things such as “a strong arm” and he helped me realize that I’d have to “let go, don’t hold on so tight” to my young adult son. (Wise words!). And then I saw, to my amazement, that the entire stream drawing had a shape of a bear, in a dress. This is significant because my life lesson with my sons was to learn to advocate for them, like a “mother bear”. The bear has a tight grip (gulp–learn to let go now) and seems to have a little surrender flag up near it’s head. see above image Should I surrender control and instead let my son’s life take the course that he wants it to take, rather than holding on so tight? I think so. THANK YOU for the insight! I have learned something. I faced that this was a new time, with new lessons in life and parenting ahead. And that drawing really helped me change my viewpoint, I was not even fully conscious of the need to acknowledge that I was perhaps unwilling to let go. (And these drawings are to be read “multi-dimensionally”, like a dream, they never stop offering new perspectives, new ways of perceiving. There is no absolute here, it’s about discovery and seeing what you see and embracing it, keeping an open mind to possible other views.)
A recent Spirit Painting Elaine Clayton copyright 2014
It is such a privilege to create these paintings for individuals, because going into meditation and painting for an another person (most of whom I have never met or spoken with) with their wellbeing and soul purpose held in my heart, makes me feel connected to something eternal. I feel sort of pulled in a certain direction as images arrive, kind of like going on an excursion without a map but sensing and feeling my way. No two are the same, of course, as each one of us are unique. Somehow, someway, the paintings and the images they depict connect to the individual’s life or hold meaning for them, it is uncanny. I can’t explain it, I just thoroughly enjoy it. There is something great going on here with life, we’re connected in mysterious ways. No matter how hard life can be, there is a stream within each of us that gives us a knowing and a feeling for others, all we have to do is be willing to “go with the flow” as they say, and we find ourselves in anyone we encounter. We find life, longing, loving, joys and sorrows. These paintings remind me to celebrate others and to remember we are One in that we are made in God’s image as powerful creators.
Pomegranates Picking/ ink and watercolor Elaine Clayton copyright 2014
I remember the era of life when I realized that I was not happy and did not have abundance and it was time to choose to change that. Every moment is one to see the love or see the shadows, see the light or get lost in the dark. I don’t always see the love, I am not always bringing love through myself, but for the most part, I learned the hard way to bask in joy instead of cynicism, anger or negative thoughts. I regret negative words I’ve said in my life, and I still work on this, I think being conscious of it has helped me grow.
Sometimes the world we’re in is so polarized, it seems hell-bent toward destruction. How do I keep positive with so much hatred and extremism? I am not sure, but it really is the only choice I have, I’m not going back to choosing (unconsciously or consciously) shadows and darkness. Maimonides taught that the joys we pass up on in life, the good things we could have received but said no to, those are all instances we will have to apologize for in the after-life. Imagine standing in the presence of God, watching a movie of your life, seeing all the negative words, choices and the good things that flowed to us that we rejected. I know I’ll be having to witness some of those, and probably some great stuff that was coming my way that my negative attitude or actions may have kept from coming fully to me–these are all my responsibility. So, I hope I get to see a life-movie that shows some absolutely glorious days of taking this earth time I’ve got, moment by moment, and being filled with LIGHT, in celebration of the good in life, even in these strange, often painful days.
Mikvah / Elaine Clayton copyright 2014
I recently immersed in the mikvah, holy and blessed water, mayyim hayyim. I did this because I love healing rituals and because I think there is something sacred about renewing the body and spirit symbolically–I needed to do that. You can do this in the ocean, I have done it before (just stating the prayer intention to heal, to be renewed as I swam). In Judaism, it is one of the commandments, or mitzvot, to honor God’s wishes by immersing in water. (Not everyone likes some of the sexist-feeling aspects of women having to immerse after their menstruation, for example, because it implies we are “unclean”, but some of that is, I think, due to the fact that commandments were developed centuries ago when that was probably arguably good hygienic advice. Now we know menstruation is not a health threat to anyone, won’t make anyone ill or hurt anyone. And yet, Orthodox Jews still go by the ancient ways and there have been many who say it is a spiritually fulfilling practice.)
I immersed as a way to acknowledge a willingness to heal, to be blessed by God, to surrender to the will of God while consciously choosing life, choosing vitality and empowerment. For me, the mikvah is a symbolic ritual inviting me to see the opportunity to thrive in a way that aligns me with God. I personally can’t feel I am thriving without that alignment. And I need to step out of the ordinary daily routines to make that spiritual connection.
If you are Jewish and have any experience with going to the mikvah, or strong opinions about it, I’d love to hear them. If you are Christian, you will remember in Isaiah the Pool of Siloam, and in the Christian bible, that Jesus healed people and sent them to Siloam, the Jewish mikvah. And some Jewish scholars refer to John the Baptist as “John the Mikvah Man” since he was immersing people in water to renew their spirit and connection with God.
Spirit Painting / Copyright Elaine Clayton 2014
In this recent Spirit Painting, I had feelings of the human personality in contrast (yet in unison) with the soul. In other words, I felt that we get born and develop in a growing body and our personality evolves as we mature. We are all that has conditioned us and contributed to our sense of self. And then there is the soul-essence which, every now and then, we may feel very strongly, a deep inner sense of self. An identity not necessarily like the personality at all. The soul seems to be a force or source informing our sense of ideals and capacity to love, it is above our human responses often, and the more we remember who we truly are “deep down inside” as some would say, we begin to fully integrate, becoming more conscious, of our soul as we respond to the world around as human personalities within a body.
The person who commissioned this painting, I felt during meditation, has strong ideals and desire to go and do good in the world, with archetypal heroes built into the sense of self, and a powerful spiritual motivation to find support and offer support to others.