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.
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.
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, “Eve’s Dream of a Deadly Vine” / Elaine Clayton copyright 2015
In what ways have you ever entrapped yourself? There is a Native American saying I love: “Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth.” It’s that simple, or at least following that simple sounding wisdom makes room for integrity, clarity and a feeling of lightness that is impossible to feel when burdened or ensnared by self deception. In this series, a visual midrash, “Eve’s Dreams”, I am exploring ways in which we pine for Paradise, and can ensnare ourselves in illusion and misery very easily. It is a painful place to put ourselves, most of us know what it feels like. And it is much more difficult to disentangle than it is to never become entangled in the first place. We seem to do it until we learn not to .