Frowning with concentration, striving and not listening to my body, I’ve burned out even doing what I love! Resting was not an option unless I got sick, and so eventually, that’s what happened. Seriously.
Through relaxing into meditation, I discovered feelings would arise and pass on through – a deeply calming sense of coming home happened. And as my art practice became more meditative at a time when I was the most anxious I’d ever been – anxiety got up and left. Completely. Eight years ago, that was the beginning of the work I do now.
I spoke with a professional recently who reminded me of my younger self. She told me she’d wanted to paint for a long time but kept putting it off because she didn’t have time… but when the desire kept nagging and she decided to dedicate the time, she investigated painting classes and discovered none of them appealed to her. She was scared.
Back in my early thirties, I had a creative outpouring of writing poetry and painting after my marriage had ended. I’d been a quiet, creative child, mad about Leonardo da Vinci, and had drawn for years. It was time to paint now. However, the thought of going to an art class with experienced students, a critical teacher and people commenting on my work was horrifying.
Like a kid in a candy store, I was also overwhelmed by the options in the art store … how to choose the right colours, how to mix them, what brushes to use and the meaning of the names on the paint tubes. Very good at procrastination, from when I first wanted to seriously learn to paint, it only took 6 years to get started with my teacher!
There was other stuff holding me back that I didn’t realise at the time. Deep in my mind was the belief that my creative life was not important. But I had a dream that my soul was emaciated and around that time, two of my patients became very ill and died. I realized the precious gift of my life, and that I must actually choose to follow my heart’s desire.
Following the pull to feel creatively self-expressed in whatever form it takes can be scary because it means stepping out of your comfort zone learning new skills and trusting your teacher. Humans are creatures of habit and there’s a cosy certainty about the ‘same old’. We have our ‘pet’ ways of staying safe. One of those is to simply avoid attending to heart’s desires. Work harder so you can excel, right? That’s what I did for most of my Physio career so by the time I changed track to art, I was having severe allergy problems. My immune system wasn’t working properly. I’d been exhausted for years, running on empty, and at risk, health-wise.
Secondly, how often do you hear someone say “I’ll figure it out”? The mind likes to take charge and think and think and think and still be no more certain than before, often less so. Realising this isn’t working can trigger even greater effort, causing further anxiety when still no clarity. Exhausting.
Another way of dealing with uncertainty is organising everything as perfectly as you can. Everything in its’ place, perhaps relaxation might happen briefly until something is out of place again. What is the energy cost of the vigilance?
We do our best, and it helps to remember that all the great spiritual traditions created certainty through providing belief systems that made sense of the cosmos. Uncertainty is part of our humanity, just as love and belonging are. And what we focus on, we feed. In other words, you can spend your energy more positively and interrupt old patterns of self-neglect, over-thinking and hyper-vigilance. I’ve done all the above at huge personal cost. There’s a far better way.
Making something meditative, with mindfulness, brings body, mind and heart back together again without expectations, waking up the brain and inspiring the spirit. In an era of anxiety, creativity brings the certainty of being whole and complete without the worries of how one looks or whether one is good enough. Refreshingly, those things are simply not on your radar when engaged in flow where the depth of calm can sparkle effortlessly with crystal clear insights and joy. You too can discover the extraordinary in the most simple of methods.
Each day during ‘Paint from the Heart’, we practice a powerful nurturing creativity method so that by the end of our time together, you’ll know how to change brain channel from the boring treadmill of worrying to nurturing the brilliance of creative flow any time you want. And if you’re worried about being a beginner and how you might deal with harsh criticism from yourself or others… you’ll discover how to pass through such creative blocks with ease.
Learn the nuts and bolts of painting quickly, as I demystify the essentials in our daily Methods and Materials sessions. Have your questions answered during our afternoon Q&A or one-to-one time.
People often block their desire to feel creatively expressed. They’ll say, for example, I’d love to paint, but I can’t draw… except for stick figures! In my classes, we bypass the need to be able to draw in the conventional sense. If you can see colours and hold a brush you can do this course. One of the top five regrets people have is not being more creative, so might it be time to say goodbye to excuses and hello to the birth-right of your natural creative expression instead?
Colour, marks, textures and shapes are our language before words. During our time together, we learn visual language without being hung up about a certain outcome… just step-by-step experimentation in the framework of my Nurturing Creativity Method so you can experience the joy of finding and using your colours.
Creative expression is amazing because it’s both grounding and lifts us up. We get in touch with our feelings, decision-making becomes easier, and the expanded imagination boosts creative thinking, all while gaining skills so you can make something that comes from your heart, and touches the hearts of others. If it sounds like something you might like to do, book a time to have a conversation and have your questions answered:
‘Paint from the Heart’ Group Course: Tumut, Regional NSW Australia 5-10 January (4pm on Jan 5 – 2pm Jan 10)
Private Course at your chosen location: By application
Paint from the Heart has evolved from my abstraction course – here’s a testimonial:
“Your Abstraction course was a remarkable surprise and so much more than I had expected. It has completely changed my way of seeing the world around me. I have a new and exciting understanding of abstract art. It was so satisfying not only on an intellectual or creative level, which I had naturally hoped for. It was the way I was touched personally and spiritually that amazes me. In fact, I would describe it as not so much a ‘course’ but a life changing experience… I find my self filled with awe and inspiration for the magic of light, form, space and colour, expressing feelings and abstract ideas that cannot be realised in representational work…It has been a re-valuation that has transformed my vision of myself and my place in the world. I am not sure words really express the magic I have discovered…” PARI GILMOUR 2018