First there was creating a painting and donating it to a wonderful preschool for a silent auction.
And then later that day I realized I had one day to mail in an entry form for an art show that I wanted to enter. I had also written at the beginning of the year that I wanted to enter an art show I had never entered before (bringing my total to an enormous *2* different art shows entered as an adult) and this was it. I had wanted to complete a new piece just for this show, but realized that the entry form wanted both the name of the piece and the dimensions, so I had to use something I already had completed and framed. I chose one photo and one mixed media piece that I had entered in the other show last year. I decided I could work on the mixed media piece some more because I wasn't completely happy with it, and in that way I would have at least one semi new thing to enter. But again, I reminded myself that the point wasn't really to have something amazing in the show. The point was just to enter it in the first place. Because I know myself, and even the act of entering something unknown can be enough to trigger a ton of anxiety and hand a megaphone to those darn voices in my head. I wasn't too worried because I thought I had worked though my art show jitters when I had entered that other show for the first time two years ago. I'd had a huge meltdown (when I got home) after the artist's reception for that. Why on Earth had I thought I was good enough to enter? Everyone knows just looking at my pieces I have no right to be there! Everyone is thinking horribly of me! And on and on. Last year when I entered the same show it had been SO much easier. I felt much more confident. Sure, my art wasn't like most of what was there, but I felt sure that it would touch at least one person and that was enough. So I thought there might be a small increase in pre-show anxiety but I wasn't too worried about it.
So I got to work on the mixed media piece. It had been an Intuitive Message Painting (the first mixed media one) so I pulled out the message that had come with it to try to open myself to further instructions for it. This was the message-
Let it through, don't try to hold it in.
Keep breathing while you let go of the bouncing and the sparking and the hurting. Trust that in the midst of it all is the peace. Real peace can be found through the difficult experiences instead of in the removal and clearing of them. Peace doesn't mean easy and smooth sailing. Peace means a trust, a solidity, a holding in the arms of love. Peace is knowing no matter what is going wrong, you're okay. No matter how painful, you're okay. You're not wrong or bad, there is no blame. It is all as it is. And, at that deep, peaceful level of unconditional love, you're okay.
First, you have to BE in the midst of chaos, not running away from it.
Do something to take care of yourself. Don't wait for the chaos to be over. Take care of yourself now. It will steady you as you plunge into the chaos towards the peace.
Figure out what you really want. Not want you don't want but what you do want. Hold fast to that. Cultivate that in the midst of chaos. And it will open a portal for you.
On the day the pieces needed to be taken in, my anxiety started to climb. I got the kids in the van, and the closer we got the shallower my breathing got. When we walked in I expect I looked like a deer in the headlights. The cold sweats were beginning. I realized that with the other art show my focus had been on my kids on drop-off day because they had entered pieces as well. But this time it was only me (this show was only open to adults). My focus was only on my own experience and it was starting to get terrifying. I wondered if I was going to start visibly shaking from all of the bouncing around that was going on inside of me. And then I remembered- I had the answer right in my hand. I knew how to find the peace within this chaos. And so I started to breathe again. That helped immensely. I started to notice where I was trying to run away instead of being right where I was. The bouncing around slowed. I didn't find peace that day, but I was at least able to hand over the pieces, walk out the door, run another errand, and drive home. I was still having a really hard time, but at least I was managing.
The next day I had scheduled painting time while my kids were with grandma. I had a couple projects to work on. Both Intuitive Message Paintings. Both involved tuning into light and love and allowing it to flow through me onto the paper. And I was NOT in the mood. At first I tried to talk myself into working on them to help me get back to lightness. Because, you know, lightness is always better than darkness. OF COURSE you should turn back to the light when you're heading towards the dark, right? BUT. That was just NOT how I was feeling. I was not done feeling how I was feeling and, as I had been reminded, I couldn't find the peace by running away from the dark. So I sat down and allowed myself to just paint how I felt. And this is the result of that-
I shared it on facebook before I went to bed. The next day was a big day full of travel and being social and it was really stressing me out. But that morning I got us up and going. Before we left I saw that others had resonated with the painting. That felt good on a very deep level. And later in the day I heard good news about the auction, received some unsolicited compliments about my paintings, and was able to deliver and then discuss a very personal painting that I was really nervous about. And as the day finished, I realized I was able to accept and receive the positive concerning my paintings in a way I hadn't been able to do before. In a way that would have been impossible only the day before. I saw that by allowing myself to move INTO not wanting to move towards the light, by getting deep into it and allowing myself to process it and communicate it and release it as I released the paper from my hand and walked away, I had created more space for the light to come in. And more effectively and to a greater degree than I would have been able to had I chosen to make myself refocus on the light.
I'm still not at peace. But I am definitely closer. And that is nothing to sneeze at!