In December I didn’t feel like sharing, I wanted to paint. I made this. It was an old painting that no-one liked. A wasp had made a nest on the back of it. By the time I discovered the nest, it was already uninhabited. I never understood why nobody liked the painting. They said it was scary and dark. I did not see that. I saw just what it stood for. For me it stood for the awe that Human and Spirit felt when faced with each other. I felt it was not fair that this beautiful concept was not seen. So one day, a day when I myself felt unseen, I recreated the scene. As I was working on it, I felt the Spirit came into the painting. I felt nurtured and mesmerized by what it spoke to me. It was a different spirit from the one that was there before. Far more graceful Spirit replaced the cold and inhumane one that used to scare people away.
Each act of exposure makes my heart race and mind go frenzy in fear. In that moment I am drawn to fall back into the mindset that sees Universe as cold and inhumane. Until I hear back from my witness(es), until I know I was heard and my message received. I know that validity of what I share lies with my own integrity. But the impact the witness has is powerful, nevertheless.
Every reflection I receive is a piece of the puzzle that expands my awareness. Majority of reflections encourage me to be seen, through these reflections the act of sharing ignites the sense of gratitude in me. Every now and then sharing ignites pain, mainly when I receive no reflection, which leaves me vulnerable and painfully insecure. Deep inside I know that my sharing is not less valid because of the lack of response. But in these moments the inhumane Universe comes and pokes me with its heart freezing fingers. To get away from it’s grip, I have to take a journey into the pain, to transform it into another point of awareness that I can be grateful for.
When I have journeyed into my pain, I’ve seen a little girl that I was, scared of being bullied. I was an introvert misfit kid growing up in a society where it was believed that criticism molds children into humans. That left me scarred. I coped by growing walls around my heart – to protect what truly mattered from being seen and destroyed. Today I see how these walls that protected me as a child, had also walled me from the world of the living. So I choose to be seen. Two steps forward into the world of the living, one step backward where the freezing cold fingers caress my heart – after all – I am familiar with their cool embrace. They were designed to protect me.
There is a trend today of encouraging vulnerability. But do we know how to respond to it? Do we bear silent witness while we pass judgments in our mind or entertain an urge to run away? Or do we have capacity to stay present and respond with compassion? I’d say we have capacity to stay present to the vulnerable states of the other to the extent that we are willing to embrace our own vulnerability.
I have also experienced how making myself seen is an empowering act that needs no feedback. I guess it depends on how ready I am. It’s important to be encouraged but not pushed, especially by myself, into doing things outside of my comfort zone, where the magic lies, but also the cold fingers of mistrust that threaten to freeze my heart again. In the unsafety of learning to be seen, I have sure collected some new scars, but I have also gained greater freedom.
I still don’t know how to play the game of Life, but my curiosity to participate is slowly overpowering my fear. And even I have moments of withdrawing back into the cool embrace of aloneness (and it may even feel like I never wish to emerge again), they pass. For the little girl in me wants to play. Not hide. Hiding was just a coping mechanism. And it is perfectly fine to swing between the two. That is how babies learn to walk. It takes many falls on their butts, but in the end – it earns them freedom.
As I look at my painting now, it encourages me to act from a more graceful space – by staying put and growing inwardly, when that feels right and venturing out into the unknown and expanding, when that is calling for me.
Thank you, for reading!
Live, Love and Expand!
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