What’s On Your Mind?

IMG_9281Detail 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.

Try a Soft Focus Approach


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!

Light Up!


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 Paintings: Thinking from the Heart


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


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

That awakens

 a separation of self

to self

to Other

To All

Sleep, and wake

Wake up to Yourself.

You Can’t Hide: Betray Others, You Betray 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.

When Horses Show Up


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.

Dogs in Dreams


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!

Transformation Through Memories with Bird in Hand


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!

Eve Dreams of a Deadly Vine: How Entrapment is Self-Inflicted


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 .