Tag Archives: Meditation

Spirit in the Form of Time

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detail of a recent painting/ Elaine Clayton copyright 2015

Abraham Joshua Heschel, in his book, The Sabbath, writes, “What is the Sabbath?  Spirit in the form of time.”

I have been thinking that time is what every interaction and relationship is founded on–we think we have lots of time with each other, with those we love, with certain situations—but we don’t. On earth, everything passes. Time has a preciousness to it when we realize that. But I have found that I did not always realize this. We are ruled by time, we rush here and there and let our sense of time run our lives through our schedules. But what do we do to sanctify or make holy our sense of “time”?  In dreams, and in Near Death Experiences, there is often a remarkable feeling that there is no time–it is more that there is a presence of being, a feeling of “now” as in all-encompassing now.

I remember during a very hard time decades ago, I read about the Shechinah, the Eternal Bride who is welcomed at Sabbath. I knew inwardly that inside each of us, there is an eternal bride waiting to be greeted, celebrated and loved. A new beginning every moment, an everlasting essence within.

What do you do to bring yourself to a place of sacred time? Where do you go, or how do you find the peace that says not all time is about schedules and rules and goals and whatever else we’ve made it to be?

Intuitive Stream Drawing Reading: The Potential in Your Voice

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Detail of a recent intuitive stream drawing reading for a client.

In this chakra/emotional centers of the body view-point, an inner child was visible in the client’s throat and heart chakra. The inner child in this position symbolized the importance of nurturing an innocent and promising potential that has to do with one’s truth and emotional empowerment. The client confirmed this.  The inner child herself has an active throat chakra, it seems there is a golden egg right there, waiting for the voice to be developed, to speak or cry out one’s thoughts and feelings. The client related to this theme very much since she described being a writer but not always having confidence in her intuitive/creative expressions even though she is very gifted. The reading supported her in developing self-trust and going back to basics with writing what cannot be criticized by the self–such as a dream journal. To learn more, see the “Books” page here on Illuminara.com, MAKING MARKS: Discover the Art of Intuitive Drawing.

Personal Spring: The New You from Inside Out

 

IMG_7646This is a New Spirit Painting commission, created for Heather Strauch for A Different Approach PT / Elaine Clayton copyright 2015

How often do you have a personal springtime, a time of conscious renewal or even unwanted change which forces new ways and different approaches?  I found Heather Strauch years ago when I was in a process of change both physically and spiritually. I sought help healing and found that “a different approach” was available, thank God.  I had previously received excellent treatment, but then relocated and found a new practice that seemed unconcerned with the whole body, or with meaningful alignment and treatment which reflects true care. I searched alternatives hoping I’d find what was “right” for me and found it. Heather’s practice, A Different Approach PT, is “the real deal”, she is a true healer and I have trusted her for almost a decade with myself and my family members.

I have found often that in the process of seeking healing, we align with people and situations that are optimal for us as we unfold anew, creating the life we seek. At our core we are spiritually renewed even as we age and even as we experience illness.  A personal spring time is necessary now and then, time for brining in the new, to heal and re-emerge with a different vision and healthy start. Spring into action, spring cleaning, spring has sprung. Eternal spring–our true essence!

Free Handed: Developing Empathy Through Drawing

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A stream drawing in progress

How can “free handed drawing” (I like to call it “stream drawing”) connect you to empathy, to feeling for others? Drawing freely directly and immediately opens you to feeling, to sensation, to the momentum of emotions as they come and go. When you begin to feel, you begin a conversation with self, a conscious awareness of how you feel gives volume to your thought process and experiences. You aren’t just reacting anymore, you’re feeling and thinking and then choosing how to respond. This same conscious awareness is what opens us up to feeling for others—if we know our feelings, we are more likely to have empathy and compassion for others. We don’t have to understand all our feelings, just be in touch with them.

The same stream drawing once I start playing with it, gazing at it and drawing into it to find meaning, to feel more deeply, to increase creative exploration and visual-intuitive language. I come away feeling very open to the feelings of those around me.
Learn the basic steps to this enlightening and creative practice, the method shared in MAKING MARKS: DISCOVER THE ART OF INTUITIVE DRAWING.

IMG_7583The same stream drawing once I start gazing into and playing with it visually.

 

“Now” is a Sacred Moment

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Elaine Clayton copyright 2014 Spirit Painting

Are we captives of time and space, and our perception of ourselves in relation to time and space, as Abraham Joshua Heschel asserts: “The higher goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments.”

Come Stream Draw with Me at Fairfield University Bookstore

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Come recapture drawing in a free-style way I call ” stream drawing” and allow your unconscious, creative, imagination flow into your hands and onto paper. This drawing event is at Fairfield University Bookstore on April 25th at 11 a.m.

Negative Space: Create Something in the Space Between

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This is from one of my many, many sketchbooks circa 1980s– that space between drawn figures asks to be played with

All through high school I was obsessed with the visual wonders seen in the space between things–known as “negative space”. I didn’t speak of this to anyone, but just watched the beauty of the contour of prople and how the shapes between people or people and things looked. Later, I’d draw people and apply what I had seen and use what I had stored up inside of my mind all day. The gentle gesture of a hand against a chair, with another person leaning beside the chair, for example, could create a wondrous harmony or even indicate a dynamic of emotion (do the figures move away from each other or lean in toward one another comfortably?). And people never knew this about themselves. They might look triumphant standing under a great arch, yet they may have even been having a rotten day, and feel utterly diminished when I’d want to tell them they were royal. The spaces between people and objects helped set up stages where things happened and do happen. My first day in art school, Maria Artemis (sculptor, teacher) spoke of this visual study, “negative space” and I knew I was home, it felt like I was in heaven, finally getting to study in-depth the thing I was interested in and not only that, others out there were also just as interested in this!

Staying Unruffled: The Magician Enters (And Goes…)

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My quick study of the moment the Magician swan enters, stirring the tranquility of the sleeping swans

Elaine Clayton copyright 2015

My favorite part of Swan Lake is the dramatically dangerous moment the Magician enters, his dark and powerful wings triumphantly fan out  in his menacing approach, fluttering the delicate feathers of the innocent.

Swan Lake is so archetypal, it reminds us and speaks to us of what we know to be true in life: It ain’t Paradise.  We live in this world of shadow and light, positive and negative, where sweet guileless trust meets cunning and cruel manipulation.

Swans get ready. Don’t relinquish peace and grace because of evil deeds and intentions. Be a swan in your placid environment, and know that in the end, the magician gets caught in his own brokenness, his wing crushed and his flight permanently damaged ( Swan Lake Part 2: Broken winged Magician is sent to a nature preserve where 3rd graders get to pet him and this rehab softens his sickness and propensity for harming others before he dies a less bitter agent of ruin).

Are You Blue? Synesthesia and the Color Blue

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mono print Elaine Clayton copyright 2015

How did such a happy, vibrant color end up being the way people describe sadness, as in, “I’m feeling so blue”? For me, blue is peace, calm, cool, heaven, sky, ocean. Blue makes green possible (with the help of yellow). Blue is mystical, a little mysterious, dynamic and makes purple possible (yes, with the help of red). I can never stop loving every subtle shade of blue from cobalt to “Robin’s Egg”–I even love the names of the shades of blue people have given over time.  Blue gives me synesthesia sensations, such as, for me the number 5 is blue. It is the color blue in my mind. It triggers the masculine animus within–bold, confident, intelligent yet it triggers the feminine, too–receptive, creative, imaginative. Another synesthesia experience I have though is when I see written, or say the word, “azure” I see the color red in many shades–the word “azure” itself is red to me for some reason, even though it represents a dashing and stunning shade of blue). Blue and getting the blues—maybe ideally blue connects us to a point of spiritual arrival within, and when we feel “blue” we are saying we long for that return to completion, to feeling whole and as though we are where we need to be.

Making Marks with Children Changes Lives (sketchbook entry from 1989)

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This is one of my sketchbook entries from 1989, when I was teaching at The Paideia School in Atlanta, GA. (a most fantastic progressive, independent school ). I was concerned about a young student who was having a hard time getting going in his creative writing and drawing assignment. Even way, way back then, I was trying to pass on the power of mark-making–drawing as a way to thrive, and it was simple: drawing freely helps break barriers to the self, opens the creative, imaginative flow and unlocks all the potential for discovery, exploration and learning. I know from experience that if this student, Michael, and so many others, did not have that time to create while being relaxed, mindful (that meditative state of the feeling of happy fullness and wellbeing) they would not have blossomed so well as they did. Drawing in an environment that is accepting, enlightening and embraces potential (the unexpected and the innovative) changes young lives.