A human being bends towards the ground on the mountain side, weaves ribbons of pink and green from the sun’s rise into a swirl around his secret wishes. The ribbons fight with his fingers. The morning is almost light and the glints and gleams want to join their sister beams spinning off around the Earth. But he tangles them, needs their cloak a while longer. Another day. He feels the weight of the crown, but doesn’t see its beauty, only the ever present watchers who would surely run if their eyes could penetrate the cocoon he makes. He weaves and weaves until his fingers bleed. And his Soul, leans over him, washes the red down into the gaps between the rocks. Waits.
I’ve been reading the description I wrote last week of what it means to me to live authentically, every day since I wrote it, and it’s unnerving. I would love to say that I live authentically every day, but I see that I do not. Writing down a statement of how you want to live, like I did, helps you know exactly who you are, right here, right now. That can be a very scary reality to face in midlife. Have you tried it? Do you dare?
Yes, it’s true I have come far on the trip into my 50s. I now know of the stuff I keep buried away in my gut or my heart or my bones or behind dry eyes that would sometimes rather cry. I know what I can write about and what I can’t. I know what I want to do and what I still can’t. It’s a struggle. A bloody mess most of the time, a great duality. The longing to be free and express, say and do exactly what we want, and our commitment to the inner contracts we have made with the rules, regulations, laws, judgements and opinions that keep us stuck and sometimes sad… Some of them might guide us wisely, and that is for each of us to decide. But many are simply imaginary friends we’ve played with since childhood (where we heard them or learned them or saw them in action in those we trusted), bullies that could be transformed into new kinder playmates. That part is probably what I’m trying to work out. To recognise one’s destructive limiting beliefs and transform them into something new is the challenge. Or at least it is for me.
Should I, shouldn’t I? Could I, couldn’t I? Can I, can’t I?
I feel certain the answer is I should, I could, I can. Yet, in the early stages of self-awareness and self-love, some wishes and possibilities remain locked down in a prison created by mostly taught, copied and learned beliefs. Other people’s beliefs. They led to our programming, that led to thoughts, that led to feelings, that led to actions, that led to circumstances, that reinforced the original beliefs*… until, more suddenly that we ever imagined, here we are, 30 or 40 years later, in the lives we’ve got, maybe believing that ‘this is it’ and secretly wishing it wasn’t.
This knowledge is why I ‘give myself permission’ to explore beyond what seems possible, even in little ways. It’s why I go out alone to dance tango with strangers and why I had to start writing again, and it is why I’m making these particular Soul paintings now. When I dance for pure pleasure or write a piece like this to express a thought or when I make a painting that reflects what I experience, I feel like my human being is washed clean again. It’s like I can breathe. When I don’t do those things, I feel a separation, an emptiness, a loss. Even starting to write this piece today (a full 10 days since the last), putting the first words down on the page, I feel myself lighten, my head lifting a little higher over the keyboard, my day a space I want to walk into.
So why don’t we carve out time or allow ourselves to do the things that lift us? In my case I could say it’s because I always feel the needs of others are more pressing than my own, or I need money to live and my belief system tells me there are surer ways to get it than writing about the mysteries of a ragged life or painting strange beings in odd mixes of colours that don’t always gel. Or it could be because play and pleasure for some reason are connected more with guilt than joy for me. These are all just excuses now though. Why? Because I’m aware enough of them to be writing about them.
If my path has brought me to place where I know even one thing that makes me happy, and yet I never find time to do it (and share it or show it if that is what I want to do, or not if it isn’t because privacy is completely OK too) then I am simply running backwards into a place I no longer belong. If I have heard my Soul’s Voice and ignore it, I know I will not grow.
Today I read this quote from Cynthia Occelli, author of Resurrecting Venus.
“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”
A lot of times in my life I’ve heard people say things like, ‘But are you sure it’s safe?’ or ‘That sounds a bit shady.’ or ‘Wouldn’t you be more comfortable here with what you know?’ or ‘Be careful’.
And of course maybe it’s not safe or is shady or I would be cosier there. But I would be weaving until my own fingers bleed, until the end of time, my time on Earth, keeping my Soul waiting, and my life small. So instead, I try—as best I can as often as I can, even though I slip and slide and struggle—to push my bloodied fingers through the cocoon, into whatever is out there.
Now, I’m not saying that there isn’t a time and place for ‘the wait state’. I used to be a great gardener and I know the necessary conditions for the seed shell to crack… underground, dark, moist, warm, protected. But when it’s time, it’s time. Either we make it so or our Soul forces the issue with some life situation we didn’t expect. Or we die (because that too probably works). The cocoon falls away and we come to see ourselves as the great and powerful beings that we are. Then everything, I believe, becomes possible.
The trick is to be honest enough with ourselves to know.
Are you weaving a cocoon around an old story, or do you feel the strength of your Soul pulse in your hands as you push through into the next phase of you?
An original SALchemy painting, born 2015.
Acrylic on oil paper 41x51cm.
I began painting this on my 52nd birthday listening to a piece of music by Steve Morrall, The morning is light.
ps. I do not know if the stuff I write reflects only the way I feel, or the way writers or artists feel, or the way people in midlife feel, or the way every human being feels at some point. It doesn’t really matter… I believe we find what we need. If it resonates, do tell me. It will go in the cauldron for new work I make.
*I’ve heard this idea in lots of places but most recently on a T. Harv Eker course I’ve been doing called The Spiritual Millionaire which has brought a few things into sharper focus for me. Harv wrote Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.
The eye with the orange iris in the painting is the eye of an elephant, inspired by the rescued elephants at Boon Lotts Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand.
I’ll be super-happy if you share my work. Please use short quotes from the piece if you like and do share the images, but always always link back here.
For any other use, please ask me first.
Share the love <3.
© Sally Townsend Blake 2015