Self Love As A Healing Path To Wild Creative Freedom

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Painting Hand


I have a student who, when she first started painting intuitively, asked me if I thought it was a good idea for her to take a more technique oriented art class.



She was feeling critical of how images were showing up in her paintings. She judged them as childlike and kooky. And she thought that developing some painting skills might make her feel more satisfied and happy in her creative work.



I told her that I thought she would be better served if she spent some time getting grounded in her own intuitive creative practice before she tried to learn someone else’s approach to making art.



She trusted my guidance and it also felt right to her so that’s what she did. And continued to practice Radical Self Acceptance and self love for the ways that she naturally expressed herself.



After a period of time, she was ready to try something new and took the plunge into a more technique based art class.



When I saw her after her first class she told me that she wasn’t going back. When I asked her why, she said that even though the teacher was a lovely human being and was only trying to help in the best way she knew how, my student couldn’t STAND someone else telling her what to do and how to be creative.



The techniques and step-by-step exercises she was introduced to left her feeling bored and somewhat stifled. She felt inhibited by the various definitions of what made a good painting.




She was afraid that if she continued down this path of following someone else’s instructions that she would lose the precious sense of heady exploration and deep trust in her ability to wander in the realm of not knowing. She worried that she would once again start negatively judging her out-of-proportion figures and surreal, upside down landscapes that she had grown to now love.




Shed gotten a taste of what it was like to paint in her own kooky, offbeat and childlike way and found it to be incredibly satisfying and fulfilling once she let go of expecting it to be something that it wasn’t. She began to see her style as valuable in its own right. And could not bear to try and fit herself into what felt like a box filled with artistic expectations.




She had gained power and confidence in herself as a Creator. She no longer needed anyone else to give her permission to create.



She had found her way to full creative freedom.



This is something that doesn’t happen as readily when you start out your artistic life by learning how to paint or dance or write or draw by imitating someone else. The motivation behind that impulse is very often related to the belief that you can’t rely on your natural ability to figure out how to create. And that without instruction from a “real artist” your own way of making art will never be good enough.



It breaks my heart when I see someone taking a class where all they are being taught is essentially a way of copying the teachers style or method.




I have seen over and over again situations where everyone in a particular class ends up with paintings that look like the person’s work that they are studying with. It’s often someone who has a style that is popular or in great demand. And learning that style gives the folks taking the class a certain feeling of confidence in the process of making art.




This approach to teaching art certainly has a great deal of appeal. I know how intimidating it can be to face the blank canvas without having a clue as to what you need to do to even begin.




But the sad part is that in those kinds of classes, students very seldom get supported to go beyond what the teacher is showing them and begin to make their own art.



They don’t learn that they can trust themselves as artists and trust in how their own art manifests. Which might be weird or quirky or intense. It might be silly or childlike or goofy. It might be dark and brooding and disturbing. It might be something that no one has seen before. Or a combination of all those things.




It’s challenging to make art that is truly yours because when you do that, what you discover is yourself. You discover your unique way of being a creator. But creating from that place of total authenticity carries with it no guarantees that you will get outside approval or positive attention for what you have created.



What we have learned in this culture is that outside attention and approval in the form of money and popularity is the primary thing that validates our art and us as artists.




And when we don’t get the approval or the sales or the accolades we start to doubt in the value of what we have created because we’ve never been supported or shown how to look for it inside of ourselves first.




When people first come to paint with me they often have a not so secret hope. Which is that getting in touch with their real selves and creating from their inner creative essence will automatically result in a masterpiece. They want something that they can take home and feel good about. They want to have the feeling that what they have created will blow other people’s minds.



And they are often rather disappointed when that doesn’t exactly pan out.



Many of us have a very difficult time loving and appreciating our art for how it comes out of us in an unvarnished and spontaneous way. But we need to learn HOW to do that. To learn HOW to simply open our hearts to our own creations without demanding that they live up to some sort of standard.




We need to LEARN how to love our art unconditionally.



We want to love our art. We really do. Because our art IS an extension of ourselves. When we can’t love our creations it’s a form of self rejection. Which is very, very painful.



So to ease that pain, and because we’ve never learned to give that love and acknowledgment to ourselves, we continue to look outside for that love in the form of attention.




And the cycle keeps perpetuating itself.




Being a true artist means getting to a place of allowing your own voice, your own style, and your own way of expressing yourself to come through unhampered by what you think will sell, or be popular or allow you to feel accepted.



It is allowing your art to come through you from that place of pure love.



When you can love your art and who you are THROUGH your art it opens you to a powerful joy and radiant confidence in your natural way of expressing yourself. And this joy goes much deeper than what you could ever gain through applause or other people’s appreciation. Those kinds of positive responses to your work are wonderfully affirming. And when you’re an artist, it is incredibly helpful to have people in your corner who support you and love your art.




But finding the people who love what you already do is a very different process than figuring out what you think people will like and then molding your art to conform to what is fashionable or trendy.



If you’re always looking outside of yourself for validation that you’re OK, you are less likely to look inside, which is where you will reliably find what is most real and alive in you. You won’t get to experience the luscious and profound fulfillment that comes from honoring your deepest creative truth. 




And your deepest creative truth is what is needed in the world right now.



We all have a genius inside of us. And when we take the step of expressing that genius it creates a ripple effect of transformation. It’s how we can bring much needed change to a world that sorely needs change as well as healing. And as much love as it can possibly get. But we can’t exercise that world-changing magic if we are hiding our unique expression behind another person’s style as a way to protect ourselves and stay safe.



Love for our creations as they are is a revolutionary act. Because loving ourselves is a revolutionary act. So I invite you to join the revolution. Of art. Of love. And of wild creative freedom.


Of being fully and openly and courageously your truly one-of-a-kind wondrously creative self.

Copyright © 2014 Creative Juices Arts.

Trusting Our Way Through The Dark

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Trusting In The Dark
I spent the week around Thanksgiving feeling pretty bad. I was extremely depressed. And had zero energy.


In trying to make sense about where this onslaught of misery was coming from, there were a number of things I could point to. It’s been a crazy intense year. Lots of changes and some really difficult events that included a couple of rather challenging interpersonal conflicts. I was also dealing with current disappointments, including some health issues and plans not turning out the way I wanted them to.



And I did need to rest. So I initially chalked my crappy mood up to simply being tired as well as feeling grief about a bunch of different losses.



But I’ve been around the block enough times that I couldn’t completely kid myself.  I knew it was more than that. Something deeper was trying to get my attention and calling me to listen.



I knew in theory that what I needed was to simply hang out with the discomfort. To “keep my butt in the chair” as the Buddhists say about meditation practice.



But it was hard. Hard to be in this place that was so painful. Hard to not have an easy way out. Hard to not know what was going on. Hard to feel so out of control.



I wanted to fix it … in the worst way. I wanted to figure out what was happening so that I could change what I was feeling. And change it fast.



And of course I was also dealing with the emotions that come from just BEING in a bad place. All the critical voices in my head were telling me that if I’m going through this it must mean I’m doing something wrong. The depressed and painful feelings are just PROOF that I don’t have my shit together. I was obviously extremely spiritually unenlightened. Because if I DID have my shit together I would sail through any and all changes in my life fully conscious and aware. With total ease and grace.


But that was most definitely NOT happening. Grace and ease were nowhere to be found. And struggle was the name of the game.


It was maddeningly obvious to me how I kept trying to escape what I was feeling. By doing more. Obsessing frantically about the stuff I always obsess about. Comparing myself to others. Eating food that wasn’t good for me. Watching way too much TV.



I would periodically remind myself to breathe. To try and stay present. And then I would fall off the wagon by distracting myself and then notice I was distracting myself. And then bring myself back to where I was. Only to distract myself again.



It’s been exhausting.



At one point I decided to have a little sit down with my Inner Wise Woman to see if she had any insight into what was going on.


Me: OK. What’s the deal. I’m doing everything that I know how to do and this rotten energy will NOT budge. Help me out here. Please.

WW: These things have their own timetable and rhythm. Which you can’t push. You just need to hang out with the process until what’s percolating underneath is ready to reveal itself to you.

Me: Aaargh…. You mean I have to put up with this for a while longer? No fair!! This is the stuff I talk about all the time. I should be better at getting through crap like this. I thought I was done with THIS level of yuck.

WW: You know it doesn’t work like that. Where did you get the idea that we are ever done? Plus “You teach what you most need to learn” IS one of your favorite slogans.

Me: But I was hoping that since I help people with this stuff I would get a pass once in awhile. You know, kind of like a soul perk for good behavior or time served or something like that.

WW: But, darling girl, you’re not seeing the most obvious point. What you’re going through IS the pass. When you signed up for this work you asked to be a pioneer and a trailblazer on this journey to become more awake and alive. And that means you get to go really deeply into what needs healed so that you can more effectively help others to do the same. The perk is that you get to heal some really hard stuff way ahead of everyone else.

Me: Oh brother… I guess I didn’t read the fine print on that particular contract.



This conversation actually helped quite a bit.


It was useful to remember that expecting things to be different than they are can take many forms. And I hadn’t realized how much I was expecting myself to breeze through this rough patch.



I was fighting against seeing myself as stuck. It didn’t fit with the image of who I want to be or how I like to think of myself. But it WAS the reality. And like the author and spiritual teacher Byron Katie says ” Whenever you argue with reality, you only lose 100% of the time.”


So I calmed down. Admitted that yes, I was stuck in a pretty crummy place. But that didn’t mean I was a crummy person. Or that I should hand in my intuitive painting facilitator badge.



It just meant that another level of healing needed to unfold. That I was human. That hard, painful and difficult feelings are simply part of this human journey.



And my Inner Wise Woman was right. After about a week of dodging, praying, many futile attempts at sitting still, talking through my process with my friends and husband and too many episodes of Boardwalk Empire, clarity eventually emerged.



I saw the reason for the dark place. And it made perfect sense as to why it had been so difficult. I had been trying to move a BIG boulder of fear related to some pretty scary risks I have planned for 2015. I was challenging some powerful belief systems related to what felt like my survival since I was a kid. And my poor little ego self was trying to put on the brakes by keeping me depressed but out of trouble.


I’m feeling much better now. Cleansed. Like I had a spiritual enema. And my faith in life and the innate, mysterious power and intelligence of the healing process has been restored once again. Until next time. When I pray that I can at least remember somewhat sooner what the heck is going on.

Copyright © 2014 Creative Juices Arts.

Poems of The Secret Feminine Heart

Monday, December 1st, 2014

One of the things that I love about the online community that I am part of is that it is filled with amazing artists from all over the world who are doing truly revolutionary healing work in the world through their art. And goddess knows, one of the areas that needs the most radical of healings is our relationship to the feminine. 



Amy Palko … writer, wise woman guide and poetess extraordinare … continually gives voice to that process of healing through her fierce and tender explorations of what it means to live in a woman’s body and heart at this point in history.

And she recently came out with a gorgeous book of poetry called From Revolutionary Lips that literally took my breathe away. In this deep dive into the naked feminine soul she is uncompromising in her ardent truth- telling about the inner life of a truly alive woman. 

She speaks of our relationship to love and blood. Death and beauty. Rage and reclaiming our light. Our strength. Our potency. Our erotic hungers. The ripe intensity of our often stormy emotional nature. 

I came away from this wild and passionate journey with her broken open and cleansed. Transformed. And more deeply grounded in the ecstatic power of my true feminine essence.  

Amy gave me permission to reprint one of my favorite poems from her book so that you can get a taste of the deliciousness that’s in store by diving into reading these poetic gems. 



An optical illusion caused by the distorted perspective of one tormented by the heat.

Dry, dessicated… bringer of death.

Shimmering in the white hot light, the mythical mirage taunts and tempts us to keep going, keep stumbling forward, our hopes of redemption, rescue and relief forever at the tips of our parched tongues.

But to no avail.

There is no satisfaction.

There is no relief.

The mirage shimmers once more and then flickers out of existence.

It is only then that we look behind us to see the oasis, green and succulent.

That beautiful promise of sustenance and nourishment, that we have been walking away from, is still there.

It always was.

And now that we have given up on our illusion that causes so much pain and suffering in exchange for an unquenchable desire, we can truly allow ourselves to receive.

We can feed our souls from the eternal spring of the divine and let the liquid love fill our bellies and hearts with bliss.

We have found our way home.

At last.

Held in the mystery by the mother of all things, I finally allow myself to receive the love that is my birthright.

And with this acceptance, I slip into bliss.

My body’s boundaries dissolve and I no longer know where I end or begin.

I am numinous.

I am everywhere.

I am a part of you.

I am you.

We are all self and other and that is how it has always been.

Colours sweep through my consciousness – a kaleidoscope of luminous illumination.

Refracted beams of light bounce off one another and break apart into more light, more colour.

There is no end to their multiplying, to their radiant reproduction.

And yet my eyes are not dazzled.

I can see them all.

The microcosmic and the macrocosmic.

I perceive all the details, all the delight, all the divinity.

And with this recognition, I too refract, bend, break, dissolve.

Copyright © 2014 Creative Juices Arts.

Making More Than Art. What Is The World YOU Want To Create?

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

Heart Necklace



The main reason that I am so devoted to the creative process has very little to do with art per se.



Now don’t get me wrong. I love art in all of it’s many manifestations. Every wall in my house is dripping with color. My home is filled with paintings and sculptures and turquoise jewelry. Every light fixture or cabinet or light switch cover is some unique manifestation of someone’s creative expression. We have over 20,000 songs in our music data base. There is at least one bookshelf in every room of the house and books spilling over onto the floor and climbing up the walls where there are no bookshelves.



I have the deepest respect and love for art and the artistic impulse. Being surrounded daily by so much beauty and creativity fills me again and again with delight. And I can’t imagine my life without the fruits of those artistic expressions.



But what really turns me on about the creative process is how it is an energy for creating your life and the world you want to be living in.



I often say to people that the workshops and classes and retreats that I offer to my students are primarily for me. I love the world and community that gets created at these events. It’s the world I want to live in. And it’s the kind of world that makes me incredibly happy. The fact that other folks also get value out of the world I want to create is simply a wonderful byproduct.



So here is a list of some of the qualities and experiences I want people to have in the world I want to create.



The world I want to create is one where everyone feels a profound sense of safety because they don’t have to worry about being criticized or put down or judged for being who they are. Where everyone can fully trust that kindness and compassion are always available and is simply how you expect to be treated.



The world I want to create is filled with the deep sense of well-being that comes when people feel accepted to totally be themselves.



The world I want to create is one where people experience a deep sense of loving connection with each other because they are encouraged to be utterly and completely real. Where nothing is held back… not their rage or fear or doubt or grief… nor their exuberance or shining wildness or quirkiness or non-stop energy.



A world where it’s not possible to be too big or too much or too loud or too intense. Or too shy or too sensitive or too needy or too emotional.



Where the experience of shame can be predictably healed through the ongoing experience of being seen and held and witnessed with love.



The world I want to create is one where a sense of community is palpably real, something to be counted on no matter what and experienced as a genuine and grounded reality in people’s lives.



The world I want to create is one where intuition and emotions and the deep wisdom of the body are honored and respected. Where there is an understanding that as human beings we are blessed with multiple forms of knowing and that each one carries a powerful and much needed intelligence.



The world I want to create is filled with patience and understanding as people grapple with the unknown and the unfamiliar.


Where there is no pressure to figure things out or to have everything always make sense. Where it’s more than OK to stumble around in the dark and to not have to have an answer to the questions of “What the heck is going on?” or “When will this change?” or “Why is this happening?” Where there’s space to allow things to unfold in their own way and in their own time.


The world I want to create is a place where risk and experimentation and trying new things that you have never done before is expected and supported with cheers and encouragement and enthusiasm… not trepidation and anxiety and fear.



Where not knowing what you are doing is no excuse to not to try and do it anyway. Where you can be confident that whatever the outcome, the fact that you were courageous enough to try is the only thing that really matters.



The world I want to create deeply supports everyone to live their lives from their own sovereign center.



To be continually asked to step more fully into a personal sense of power and inner authority. To make all choices from the deep core of their being. To have impeccable boundaries. To be respected as fully in their No’s as they are in their Yes’es. To be able to say what they want and need clearly and uncompromisingly and trust that the folks surrounding them will do the same.



The world I want to create is a place where respect is a given, differences are celebrated and applauded, creativity is championed and love is the currency of the realm.



Where generosity flows like an abundant river because everyone is deeply rooted in the bountiful soul energy of who they are and who they were meant to be. And are continually fed and filled by being part of a circle of bountiful soul energy that flows from the hearts and minds of their friends and companions on this journey.


These are just some of my visions for the world I want to create.


So my question for you, oh wondrous creative being, is this… what is the world that YOU want to create and make more real? Not only for yourself but for those lucky folks that happen to be swimming in your orbit?


Write it down. Don’t be afraid to wish for the stars. And pay attention to all the ways that this is already happening. To all the ways that you are already an artist of your own life. To all the ways that your presence is a gift to the world. To all the ways that your creative genius already manifesting.



And to celebrate yourself for how you are making the world a better place through your visions and your heartfelt desires of what you want this world to be. 

Copyright © 2014 Creative Juices Arts.