From my May newsletter.
Last month, I shared a sneak peek of the “Prayer for the Birds” from the “Where I Stand is Holy” series (4 panels inspired by illuminated manuscripts that address species extinction related to climate change and other human factors) and mentioned that I had been stalled on this painting due to some resistance. And in reflection, my resistance was about fear and attachment instead of trusting and being in the process.
I’ve never had this type of technical problem with my painting but since my Iconography class two years ago, I have been attempting to integrate similar layering techniques into my work. After adding too many layers of paint in the center window, I was struggling with getting the paint to lay down in the sky and on the figure. I was also attached to the way the face was looking even though I could tell it wasn’t quite right. Intuitively, I knew I would have to start over but resisted that until I finally surrendered. Fear crept in along with my perfectionism. Ego was driving the process not divine trust. Ultimately, I had to let go and leap. So, I sanded down the face of the madonna and did start over. I reworked the morning sky. At any given moment during the painting process, when fear or perfectionism shows up, it helps me to repeat a mantra to myself asking Spirit for guidance knowing that I am simply the vessel giving expression to this sacred art. A holy prayer that this beauty may serve others and our world. In his book, “The War of Art,” Steven Pressfield speaks to the many layers of resistance and that is a natural part of the creative process. The key is to acknowledge it and continue to show up every day to do the work (whatever that is for you) we are here to do. What is yours?
I was re-visiting my first book of eco-philosophy today, A Sacred Place to Dwell: Living with Reverence Upon the Earth by Henryk Skolimowski, that I discovered in 2003. Reading this sacred text was life changing and inspired me to go on to graduate school to study spiritual traditions and ethics within an interdisciplinary framework. Although I had considered an MFA and a Master’s in Art Therapy at the time, I felt called to this other scholarly path to better understand the disconnect between humanity and all of creation— philosophically, theologically, sociologically, and psychologically, etc. I wasn’t interested in being part of a contemporary art world driven by the notion of art-for-art’s sake or the pathologies of dis-ease associated with art therapy, though I bow in gratitude to those who follow the latter calling. My artwork has been a response to this original inquiry and The Translator especially speaks to the creation of a new language, what some are now calling “the new story,” of our interdependence and reverence for the earth. You can read about the painting here.
Skolimowski put forward this “New Gospel” and share that here with you.
For love of the EARTH!
The New Gospel
- The World is a Sanctuary.
- You were born creative.
- You hold destiny in your hands.
- You have the responsibility to do your part.
- The web of life includes all forms of life, human and non-human.
- Be compassionate to others.
- Be gentle to yourself.
- Be mindful how you treat your body.
- Be mindful of what you think and what you eat.
- You were born into a beautiful world.
- Your nature is divine.
- You divinity must reveal itself in your action.
- Suffering cannot be avoided.
- The fact of death cannot be avoided.
- Celebrate! The universe is in a state of self-celebration.
- What is your path of liberation? To begin with, you need to take yourself seriously.
- Oikos (Eco)—A Sacred Enclosure (oikos is Greek for ‘home.’)
- Achieve wholeness through your own effort.
- We are meaning makers.