The art of living soulfully
"The spirit shall look out through matter’s gaze. And matter shall reveal the spirit’s face."
Through art making inner worlds are revealed. The Psyche. Soul. Spirit. The outer world can be related to in one's inner world and one can learn to deal creatively with one's circumstances.
Consciousness is energy. Cannot be destroyed. Can only change form. Two streams of consciousness are preprogrammed during our birth in this earth/body-mind life: we bring with us character patterns and potentialities (karma/our unique human conditioning, soul purpose) and we are "dropped" into outer circumstances (family, country, culture, "Zeit Geist" and cosmic evolution).
The world "out there" was the focus of attention in my family, the culture and moment of birth.
I was brought up as if there was no inner world. I became part of the aftermath of the Holocaust and survival patterns, joining the rebuilding of a western civilized materialistic and relative rationalistic culture. And when the inner world was expressing itself it was silenced, pushed under. When I was very small it was still somewhat appreciated, but around the age of 9 it was considered "fantasy" and not real. I learned to focus on outer demands and "good" manners.
Using clear thinking and my sensitivity in trying to understand "the real world" out there.
I was not embedded in a loving context. Had no contact with "a spiritual culture" either.
During the training of becoming a body-oriented psychotherapist I re-discovered the creative healing and centering quality of listening inward. Journal writing and art-making became my main self-care activity. Reflecting, philosophizing and "taming" my self-control.
While "scribbling, scratching, writing and drawing" worlds in worlds appear and dis-appear. Worlds filled with unattended betrayals and sufferings. Filled with unknown "knowing". A world of emotions (negative and positive) with their underlying thought patterns made itself felt and seen. Felt, but not named or framed.
They appear as strokes and colors, open or tight forms and fields. Hidden dark worlds unfold, and new qualities, joys and beauties too. Practicing: "going with the flow", witnessing, lovingly. Allowing. Surrendering to the process. Letting go of "a good picture", a result.
Suspending disbelief, the inner critic and reactivity.
Withdrawing the projections. "Holding the field"
Affective unprecedented images appear.
By loving and emptying the burdens locked in the heart, the heart becomes a treasure house. Emotions are not just personal, they are human and universal. Outer constrictions lose their grip, inner longings can be listened to. The hands, the heart, the breath, the seeing and feeling, moving and deep receiving and responding weave "beings" on paper, as if (I am) creating a new skin to live in. Art making becomes "speaking from the whole body". An unmasking and masking at the same time. Living through one's life experiences. Unifying so called polarities/dualities of either-or and exclusions, into a co-existence of different forces, the many selves in ONE Self.
I used "art making" as a therapeutic tool with clients and myself. Enjoyed art making as an inner drive to be creative and express this self- Self dynamic. With my ego- strength I had developed a clear thinking and a dynamic outer directed professional life.
I was familiar with "the unseen" through listening, seeing, smelling, tasting through the words and silences expressed by others. Inner listening was practiced in order to become "a reflective surface" for the other. Inviting unconditional love and light in, together. I was exploring my own inner depth only in relation to my functioning as a psychotherapist. That was quite a deep delving into my personality structure. Not yet an opening of the gates of the heart. A going beyond conditionings and self protections. Memories and hurts lay dormant in my cells.
When my body-based learning got more subtle, soft, slow, meditative and prayerful a whole new world inside me opened up. The realm of sensing and moving and feeling is quite non-verbal, even pre-verbal and not mental. Breathing in and out, intuitions and imaginations appear like day- dreaming, love making and play.
Eros comes alive. The hidden joyful innocent child of wonder and magic becomes alive. Discovering beauty and possibility. Shifting perspective often. There is no right way or "the way". Art making became a process of liberation, unburdening and expressing the small still voice from within. Listening to "Spirit". Crying out its suffering. Pouring out the soul.
When I started to practice art-making as a contemplative practice, and as a way of knowing from soul, art-making became the vehicle for transformation and for "surrender". Returning to Source. Through art making wounds, distresses and frustrations could turn into light and mysterious colorful landscapes or faces, uplifting my heart, setting other inner forces free.
And teaching me about "liquidity", "flow", "impermanence", "transparency", "magic" and "wonder", "process". Presence.
Art- making became a spiritual practice of attuning and aligning to a healing force. Fear can just be a trembling. "Nothing to hold on to" any more. Whatever is contained can be released.
As meditation and prayer became more part of my daily spiritual practice, I added creative writing and visual journaling as morning practice. Keeping diaries. "Doing" retreats and using my diary for "energy sensing" and "mood sensing".
Through sensory awareness, meditative movements, breathing and transformative art-making, whatever is touched inside and out, can melt, soften, can be deepened, can get sharp and precise, can become clear and open. Unattended sorrow, pain, fear, dark emotions and defensive "old" reaction patterns can be unpacked lovingly. Be seen, be met. Being in dialogue with.
Stories in stories, images in images make themselves known. While cutting through the fixed stories, reactions and manifestations, emotions and thoughts are "washed' and "polished" and refined into pure feeling-awaring. The capacity to feel gets restored. The soul wakens.
Art becomes the Tree of Life. Body-mind-heart are revitalized. En-spirited.
Traumatic experiences turn into soul-strength.
Short introduction about transformative art making, taken from the documentary
"To Remember To Return".
This transformative art making is not my personal invention. I attune and align with a whole field of creative artists, healers and spiritual seekers. From ancient times and the present.