Thursday, November 30, 2017

Losing My Mind ... For Good

The Dreaming Quilt, 48"x48", $2,500

Meditation is a great practice to bring calm into my life. It even helps me sleep better. Over the years I noticed it helped me lose my mind and I mean that in a good way. Like with creativity. The more I meditate, following inspiration is more enjoyable and deeply fulfilling when I keep my mind out of the creative flow.

When I first began creating art I felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. An intensely vivid world opened up for me, full of ideas I could not get enough of—it took the form of quilting, I mixed unlikely things like metal and shisha mirrors with fabric, then fabric and paint on wood, then bigger mirrors, jewelry, fabric dyeing and more. One idea led to the next almost 24/7, which became a problem when I couldn't sleep. My head told me if I didn't obey inspiration, it would go away.

It was about this time that I began reading about meditation and tried it sporadically. The idea of observing my thoughts and not getting hooked by them intrigued me. What might I find beyond thoughts? I hadn't yet learned the value of daily meditation so it took a couple of years for me to learn to witness my thoughts. During this time my sleep improved significantly on days I meditated and, my mind raced less during the day. It was encouraging.

Then something interesting happened for me. I became aware of how much my mind was driving me to create more and more. And it wasn't just with art. I felt I had a taskmaster in my brain that drove me to do a lot of things at full tilt and for the wrong reasons. With art it told me I wasn't doing enough creatively. I needed to be more innovative and original. Other artists were more successful than I was. It felt like a beat down. The message: you'll never be enough.
Emerging, 36"x36",$2,000

Inspiration was not a part of that conversation. I noticed its quality was different. It quietly offered pictures in my mind upon waking (no destructive comments). It filled my heart with possibility when I saw a color combination in nature I loved. I was drawn in to learn a new skill with enthusiasm. It always made me feel good and excited.

My mind, not so much. It looked at the skills other artists had and told me I was not as talented. But I was onto it and determined to get out from under it. Meditation was my ride to freedom.

Beyond Thoughts

When I worked for a corporation, I had high pressure deadlines to meet creating videos. I remember one standout assignment. I was asked to create seven, two-minute videos for a five-day leadership forum. After filming 30 interviews, I had a weekend to deliver edited drafts. My mind, in doomsday mode, told me the project was insane, not possible, unreasonable, I should quit, I'd never get it done in time. It was locked in doubt, insecurity and fear of failure.

I closed my eyes and first asked inspiration to guide my choices for creative videos that would inspire others. I expected help. Then I meditated. When I was done I told my mind I was grateful for its input, it was just trying to protect me from failing. Meditation also taught me to stop judging my thoughts as being bad (after all, these are more thoughts!).

To Truth, 12"x12" Digital Artwork, $200. Larger sizes available soon.

As I meditated the space beyond thoughts emerged. I stayed here, breathing, for thirty minutes or so. If my mind wandered, I gently returned my focus to breathing. When I was done, I listened to the interviews with focused attention and key sentences stood out easily as the clear choices for sound bites. These dictated the flow and feel of the videos and lastly, the special effects I used.

It was in this stressful situation that my eyes were opened to how meditation was truly my ally in success. I could count on it no matter the situation and I began to access this place beyond thoughts regularly as my responsibilities at work increased and with them, the pressures.

Today, my art studio is a No Mind Zone, an extension of how I choose to live now—present and confident ideas will be there when I want them. This space of no mind is where my intuition resides and a place where play rules. I enter it with eagerness. I know joy is waiting there. 

The paintings, "The Dreaming Quilt" and "Emerging" are new and were created without a plan. Colors were selected in the moment. The figures emerged organically. The owl was a surprise. This is true of the digital artwork, "To Truth," as well. The photos to make it were selected because my heart was drawn to them. I watched like a delighted child how the photos were transformed into the art you see using the processes I enjoy in Photoshop. 

I hope the artwork brings beauty to your world. Thanks for stopping by.

What Is Waking Up Inside of You?