Detail from Dreaming of Shin and Shekinah /Elaine Clayton copyright 2014
There is a moment in the Friday night Shabbat service when everyone turns to face the open doors, to welcome the Sabbath Bride. She is Shekinah, the Holy Spirit, feminine aspect of God. I was late getting to the temple a few weeks ago, and saw that everyone had already started as I walked down the corridor to the sanctuary. Just as I walked through the doors, it just so happened that this was the moment everyone turned to greet the Sabbath Bride. It was funny, and I laughed and so did a few others. But actually, it felt really cool to get to walk in with Shekinah that night! I am painting this (see above, a detail) meditation of the Hebrew letter shin and of the spirit of Shekinah, a presence unseen but felt.
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 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.
The Presence acrylic on canvas 8″x10″ Elaine Clayton copyright 2014
Do you see angels? They’re sometimes powerfully brilliant sparks and colors (blissful to behold!) and other times orbs of luminescent light, gliding softly, shimmering of love and calm (or are those orbs something other than angels, such as new souls or ?). I have seen some that move en masse (small) the way great flocks of birds do, in that mesmerizing swoosh, creating a changing shape as they fly together. I like to close my eyes and meditate, seeing what I see in the dark of my 3rd eye vision, until something happens. I’ll say out loud, “I’d like to see my guardian angel now.” Often a most glorious purple light comes into view, cloud-like and bright as ever. The reason I say they are angels is because there is a distinctive feeling of utter majesty and true bliss when seeing them. It’s the feeling that comes with the vision that counts. And the feeling is of deep love.
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.
In a recent intuitive reading session, the subject of time came up. Time in the spirit realm is not as we experience it, it is not linear. There is not a past-present-future dynamic like the one we have here in our daily lives. In this particular reading, a figure stretched to put her toe through the door of a future event. It seemed to say to me that the client in a spiritual way was “already there” and the saying, “Fake it ’till you make it” came to mind. She laughed as she had been saying that phrase to herself a lot lately. Seeing ourselves “already there” helps us get to where we feel we have not yet arrived. The intuitive stream drawing made me feel that this client was already in that great future place, though she did not experience it yet in “real time”. What was holding her back from experiencing that? She saw all the obstacles and felt the weight of all the worries, which is natural, especially when we are being responsible and thoughtful of others. But since she’s “already there” and just has to catch up to herself, we talked about meditating to see herself already there, in her beautiful future. She does not have to perceive any obstacles or allow anything to function as an obstacle.
When you feel like you aren’t there yet–where you’d like to be in life, imagine that all time that is yours to experience, and your creative energy, is one big kaleidoscopic image. That kaleidoscopic image is YOU in the utterly stunning life design and pattern that shifts and becomes more and more wonderful each time it shifts. And you ARE all parts of this image at once, and it is shimmering and divine. Imagine and see your best self in the “future”, reaching to you to step into your ideal light, your best dream. It will become “real” once you accept that it is already very real! The kaleidoscope will shift and there you are, in the place you have aspired to be.
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.