Detail of a recent painting/ Elaine Clayton copyright 2015
Majestic, sensitive, powerful. Horses seem to know what you’re thinking, they pick up on how you feel. There is a quality of spiritual opportunity about them. Riding them makes you feel closer to the sky, taller than human and grounded in your power. This horse just appeared–the head and neck were something I “found” when looking at random brush strokes, so I filled in the rest. I love it when horses show up.
Detail from a recent Spirit Painting/ Elaine Clayton copyright 2015
I think of unconditional love, obedience, companionship, loyalty and protection when I think of dogs, and especially when they show up in meditation or appear in intuitive stream drawings. You might have other things to add to my list, personal meanings you hold and associate with dogs. Dream symbology is great to explore since it can lead to insightful personal and universal truths. In this recent Spirit Painting, a well groomed dog (poodle) shows it can sit up, beg (for a treat?) and embodies training and grooming. This is a cultivated dog. I wonder what are the things I cultivate in my life? What has my attention, and what do I nurture? The saying, “You reap what you sow” makes me think that what we nurture and cultivate yields fruits for us, so it better be things we intend to nurture and cultivate but I am certain we unconsciously give a lot of time and space to things that will end us up in not so good places. Becoming conscious of how we use our energy in the way of thoughts, plans, emotions, ideas, etc. is a pretty good idea. If you’ve had dogs in dreams, I’d love to hear about it!
Detail of a recent Spirit Painting/ Elaine Clayton copyright 2015
Memories like to cling to us, or we cling to them. Next time you find yourself stuck in a moment of remembering something painful from the past (often it is the not-so-good memories that surface, maybe because we are holding on to something unresolved in them), try to imagine yourself holding a beautiful bird. Sift through the memory and allow yourself to feel the emotion and review your thoughts of the memory while gently holding this beautiful bird. Picture it however you like, long or short feathers, exotic or ordinary colors, etc.. Then tell the bird you’re holding in your mind to carry this memory into the sky so you don’t have to carry it anymore. Imagine the pain of the memory transforming you, taking flight to become something else within you–maybe a new strength for having endured something difficult, maybe an acceptance of that which you cannot fix or control. Whatever it is, release it with this magnificent bird and follow the bird if you like, in your meditation. Tell me what happens!
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 .
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?
This 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!
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.”
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).
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.