Tag Archives: Nature

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?

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!

“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.”

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).

Intuitive Stream Drawing: Love for an Animal in Childhood

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Elaine Clayton copyright 2015 Intuitive Stream Drawing

In this intuitive stream drawing for a client, a very poignant and emotionally rich life memory surfaced. In the meditation I did prior to meeting with the client, I created an intuitive stream drawing in her honor. In the meditation while gazing at the drawing I had made (with eyes closed, using non-dominant hand), there appeared a girl petting a baby calf, possibly feeling it with the other hand. The calf looked relaxed and gentle. The girl looked so very attentive. (I colored this part of the image in here so you can see it more clearly). I asked the client if there was any reason why a calf might be present in the stream drawing I had done for her, and shared it with her. It turned out that indeed this client had a great love of animals and had raised a calf when she was quite young. She raised it beautifully, only to have to see it win a prize (for her great grooming and nurturing of it) and then be sold at the fair as a result. The problem is that animals sold at the fair usually end up slaughtered. This was a crushing blow to her, for a young person to be so dedicated as to responsibly raise a tender young animal, only to have to face the shock that it could no longer be under her care and would or did meet a terrible fate.

After doing so many of these intuitive stream drawings over the years for so many, I trust that if an image presents itself, there is a powerful or significant reason for it. During the reading we were able to talk about how much this time in her life (even with the awful reality of losing the life of the animal after raising it so lovingly) meant in terms of her development of her personality and motivations in her own career choice, a people doctor. And how her love of this animal is still felt in some universal way (which I believe the drawing spiritually showed– that a kindness done is never forgotten–it felt like spiritual acknowledgment that this client had been so kind to this innocent beast of burden, and that kindness was not ever a waste!). In fact, the time the client spent with the animal helped shape and mold her dedication and resolve to “do no harm” in her current work, which she does also so lovingly. The calf helped her realize her healing gift, and she helped this little beast of burden to feel loved and cared for as it grew.

This was such a powerful moment in a reading. I can’t stop thinking about it! To learn more about intuitive stream drawing, click here.

Stream Drawing and Dream Journaling for Happiness

IMG_7047Recent paitning  Elaine Clayton copyright 2015

Stream drawing is drawing with such a feeling of freedom that you begin to be in a dream-like state, you begin to tap into your unconscious while awake. I urge clients and friends to not only stream draw every day (we do a type of stream drawing most commonly referred to by a non-word “doodling”–often while on the phone for example) and to consider keeping a dream journal. What begins to happen is the information, wisdom and insights you can receive in a multitude of ways from your dreams (and if you don’t remember your dreams, you can train yourself to remember them) begin to be on your mind in a very powerful way during the day. And you become more aware, more insightful, more intuitively intelligent–things start to feel whole and aligned. This is a great feeling. The same is true with stream drawing, once you start doing it as a practice, you literally slip into that zone where everything good is possible, and your entire day unfolds with more love for others, more appreciation and alertness to your environment in ways that guide and support.

 

Winter Day Dream

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Detail of one of my recent paintings Elaine Clayton copyright 2015

Snow changes the acoustics, making a sanctuary of the surroundings. There is a hushed, majestic quality. As I stand on the snow, there is something present within it, spiritually intrinsic and obvious to me–it is an extraordinary something– might be that each flash of light from each crystal snowflake (though we cannot see that beauty without a microscope) reaches the psyche, the heart in winter. After snow has been on the ground for many weeks or months, there is a formidable sense of endurance that comes with each step taken across the cool whiteness. Wanting the bitter cold to subside, the shadows across snowy mounds that have known us for a while whisper that Spring is not too far away.

Remember the Future: Dreaming Forward


IMG_7116Detail of a recent painting series Midrash Painting: Eve’s Dreams

Often, memories of the past surface; small or quick scenes of all kinds of past events or experiences flash into the mind’s eye (accompanied with a lot of emotion, too, if we notice). A fun thing to do is to try to flash on future events–it is a mind game in a way, of course, because the future has not happened yet and therefore we have no knowledge of it stored in the subconscious. But what if it were possible to see the future in flickers of awareness just as it is possible to experience the past? It too, is no more–only an illusion. All we have is “now”, but if you feel like seeing yourself in new ways, if you have wishes or dreams you’d like to realize, why not picture them into being?  There are all kinds of dreams: dreams we have when we sleep, where we process all we have unconsciously absorbed and dreams that are day dreams, where we imagine what might be.

 

Eve’s Dreams

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“Eve in a Shift Dress”,  from my new series, Painting Midrash: Eve’s Dreams

This weekend at Congregation B’nai Israel in Bridgeport, CT, we are having an art show. Tomorrow we have a reception and conversation with the artists, if you’re local, please come by around 4:30! 
Tonight is a Shabbat dinner with special guest, Bella Meyer, the granddaughter of Marc Chagall, one of my absolute favorite artists. I am thrilled about it. 

I have been working on a series, Painting Midrash: Eve’s Dreams. Dreams and intuitive sensing are such major themes in my life, and I have been learning to chant Jacob’s Ladder in Hebrew. It got me wondering what about the dreams of women, and are there any in Torah? I imagined the first woman, Eve, and thought about what her dreams would be. I had a sudden realization that her dreams are the same as ours: longing for Paradise. We long for something we cannot quite capture, or we do in glimpses, but there is always “trouble in Paradise” in one way or another. We live in a world of shadows and light, it is not perfect, it can be very painful. These paintings in this series represent that longing for harmony, self fulfillment, love and bliss in general, or even just basic safety and comfort.

Dimension of Being

IMG_6865Detail from a recent painting

I had a dream where there was a very frightened woman, so much so that she jumped face-up into a creek, shrieking as she looked up at something very terrifying in the sky. But when I looked up, all I saw was a shower of yellow-gold leaves streaming down into my hands, all over my head and filling me with a feeling of love. At that moment I woke up, and still in the hypnogogic state, I saw the face of a spooky ghost. Eyes seething, teeth rotten and gnashing. I felt sorry for him and said, “God bless you.” I repeated this several times. Then, as though this image of the spooky ghost were on a screen, the screen tilted back and I saw that it was only paper-thin. This negative apparition was only a projection, it was not “real”. I then seemed filled with an understanding that all of our emotions, thoughts and intentions are also like projections which we send out, and each one is like an area or plane of existence that are all stacked up like paper in the Universe: the angry area, the fear-filled area, the revenge area, the love area, the joy area, etc.. We play out or actions and reactions based on life events. If the negative ghost which seemed to be angry, mean, full of fear, was  actually on a paper-thin type of area or screen or plane, then there would be many more such areas, all filled with other kinds of emotions and thoughts and intentions. Which one are you in right now? I’m at this moment feeling a mixture (can we be in more than one area at a time?). I feel expectation of a big blizzard coming, I feel creative bliss, I feel slightly uncomfortable in my body because I am sore from painting for so many hours.

So what dimension would we want to be in? We all know what it is like to have emotions like anger and fear, to feel as though we cannot forgive one who wronged and hurt us. These are human emotions. But we also know that when consumed by those, it feels like we are “in a bad place” as they say. And we want out of it. I think it is true, the only way out of those emotions is to be conscious of them and our response to them, and to practice compassion where we are able to, to love in each moment as best we are able to. Forgiveness often comes in time. Being free of anger is such a great feeling. When we hold positive feelings, thoughts and intentions, cultivating love and calmness, we must then be in an area or dimension of being. I want to stay under the shower of light-filled leaves, catching them in my hands.