One of the most delightful moments for me as an intuitive painting teacher is when my students discover how incredibly BOSSY the creativity goddess can be.
When they truly begin to give themselves over to their intuition and to the power of the creative process they are always so surprised when the Mother Of All Creative Juiciness steps in and begins to tell them, in no uncertain terms, exactly what to do!
This was expressed in a recent Wild Heart Painting workshop as a battle cry and a question from one of my students which was "Are you, or are you not, the Creativity Goddesses bitch?!!!"
Once she gets it that you are finally willing and ready to get out of the way she has very precise and no nonsense instructions about how to proceed. And it doesn't matter one little bit whether or not you like or want what she proposes.
Maybe what she wants is for you to paint a sheep with red lipstick and red galoshes or a weird arm sticking out of an alien creatures head. Or maybe she needs for you to make a total dripping mess. Or put exquisite precision and care into an image that you thought was impossible for you to render.
And she asks you to do these things because she wants you to step out of your old, tired story of who you think you are and claim yourself as the true creative force in your life.
The thing that cracks me up about this whole intuitive painting process is how it is a total bait and switch. People come to my classes because they want to be more creative. That is their hearts desire.
But they also want control.
And even though it says very clearly on my website that this approach to art is all about the process and not the product that is just so much blah-blah as far as most folks are concerned.
They see those words but they translate them to mean that they will actually get MORE control over their creative expression. What they are often struggling with before they get to me is that they are unhappy with what they are creating. They don't like the outcome of their creative efforts very much.
They are hopeful that unleashing their unique creative style will immediately lead them to manifesting the painting that they have always dreamed about. The painting that will finally bring them fame. Or get hung in the MOMA. Or make them lots and lots of moolah.
But what they get instead is an invitation and opportunity to surrender control to the seemingly flighty and capricious Goddess Of Mystery And Magic.
And as any self respecting caterpillar can tell you .... while being dissolved in the gooey chrysalis of transformation on the way to becoming ( hopefully ) a glorious butterfly ... Surrender Sucks!
Not to mention being horribly messy and terribly sticky.
And the worst part about this whole process is that it DOES NOT STAY ON THE PAPER. That is another thing that is not advertised on my website. Once you innocently invite The Goddess Of Change And Evolution into your life through a little paint and the flick of a brush, she just takes over.
And she IS a mama. Make no mistake about it. A very powerful, fierce and devoted mama. And like any mama she wants what's perfect for you. She wants you to be happy. And fulfilled. And to have the absolute best.
And she won't rest until you do.
So she asks that you surrender. She demands that you give yourself over to her guidance and wisdom. To put your trust in her.
Almost all of the most incredibly wonderful things that I have in my life have come from my willingness to surrender.
So I have learned over time that as much as it might suck to actually give myself over to the next thing that the goddess has in store for me, it does eventually have its up side.
Without being willing to give up control and the need to always have the future totally mapped out for me I would have never said yes to a relationship with my MUCH younger husband or walked away from the path of professional licensure to found my intuitive painting empire.
But being willing is very, very different from WELCOMING surrender. That is still something that I have not yet achieved.
My first response to being confronted with the next thing that I know is going to change my life is along the lines of "AAAARGGHHH.... you have GOT to be kidding" or "Oh No... not this. I'm not up to this. I can't do it. This is too much to ask of me. Don't make me !!!" And finally " I HATE THIS!!!!" said with a whiny pout and a petulant foot stamp.
There is an experience of surrender that is presented to you as an invitation. By responding to it you are answering the call for expansion and greater aliveness. This form of surrender involves apparent choice.
It's a type of surrender that you THINK you can actually say no to if you so decide.
For example, when I turned 50 a few years back I had my actual birthday at my Wild Heart Painting workshop in New Mexico. And there were many of my long time students in attendance there.
They surprised me with a wondrous birthday celebration and a mind blowing proposal. What they proposed as part of that celebration was for me to strip naked so that they could paint my whole body with tempera paint.
Which of course immediately set off the predictable cascade of inner whining and a screeching halt "NO!!" of anxiety. This proposal was just so shocking. So outside of my comfort zone. So ding dang WEIRD.
But also incredibly intriguing. And totally in the spirit of creative risk taking that I try and foster in my workshops.
So I compromised by saying that I would strip to my waist for my 50th birthday and go all the way when I reached 100.
Through this process I was invited to step into the archetype of the Goddess Of Painting Surrender via the hands of my students who totally respected and adored me.
And proceeded to experience the most amazingly transformative birthday ritual in my life.
And in the words of my husband who was brought to the studio to see the fruits of their handiwork once they had completed their painting ministrations "I see they gave you a taste of your own medicine."
What I have learned that is so SCARY about surrender is that what you are ultimately surrendering to is some form of love. You are opening your heart to something that is going to change you.
Which means that you make yourself vulnerable.
When I fell in love with my husband, I couldn't, and still can't imagine life without him. Before I was with him I was involved with a lot of guys who couldn't commit.
So all I wanted was someone who would and could make a serious commitment to me. Who was capable of opening as much to me as I did to him.
And my husband has done this. I trust his bond with me completely.
But even if we stay married for the next 40 years we are not going to be together forever. Someday one of us is going to die. This surrender to the vulnerability of my heart also opens me to the inevitability of change and loss.
THAT is what all that whining is really about.
If I say yes to what I really want ... if I allow myself to be transformed by love ... I am also saying yes to the certainty that one day my heart will be broken open by that love.
Which I am FINALLY learning is at the core of true transformation.
So, if you're willing to have your heart pummeled by tenderness, expanded through joy and stretched by devotion in ways beyond what you can even begin to imagine, let the goddess have her way with you.
She really does know EXACTLY what she is doing. After all, she has been at this metamorphosis business for a VERY long time.