In the Flow

Our Bosque, painting by Judith ShawThe practice of painting continues to inform me about the nature of living in the flow.  I move through life and through painting with much more ease when I move with the flow; when I open to serendipity; when I trust.

In painting, as in life, one must learn to navigate the limitations of physicality. I start my day’s painting cold, dry, slowly moving into an openness to the flow. Finally the surface is covered and the oil paint is wet and sticky.  Now I can lose myself, lose ego, allowing the paint to move in its own way with a little help from my brush in hand.

The day ends, the light fades, my body tires and I stop.  But the painting is not finished.  And the next day or the day after when I can begin anew the paint has dried.  Now I must move from the dryness to the wetness.  I must move from stagnation to flow.

Under the Olive Tree, painting by Judith ShawOnly now fear can set in.  Maybe my next move will be wrong.  Maybe the risk I take of change will end in disaster.  Maybe it would be better to accept the known, even if not quite right, than fail while seeking the revelation of the painting. I confess that when these fears take the upper hand I engage in what I like to call “painting around in circles” – putting the same color, the same form, the same everything on top of the work of the previous day.  Until finally I get so fed up with myself that in a burst of energy I make a radical change in color or form thus moving myself back into the flow.  Other days I ignore that fear and move more leisurely into the flow.

Similarly my life sometimes gets blocked as I seek to hold onto conditions which call out for change.   The familiar is so comforting, that even if it is killing me, I hold on. In these times I must also face the fear, either with a logical, step-by-step plan or with a burst of energy and a surgical slice, and return to the flow, leaving behind the old way of being.

I am grateful that my practice of painting helps me face the situations in life that have grown stagnate and call out for a new flow.  Perhaps you too have a practice that helps you face the need to let go when it arises.

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One response to “In the Flow

  1. Lovely painting! Well said…..having a mental block certainly sets on fears…….hopefully we can all get past them!

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