The eloquent post below was written by my beloved FEARLESS® Painter Shauna over at Sacred Punk. She so kindly agreed to share her wisdom here at DFS.
While at our painting retreat last year, Connie (beloved FEARLESS painting teacher) taught us something valuable. Sometimes the first sign of new life trying to come through us is our paintings begin taking a turn for the worse. No matter how many times we work or rework or just plain start over, we can't get the painting to look as we imagine it. It becomes frustrating and the temptation is to assume we have lost it (whatever it might be). Instead of tossing our brushes, the trick is to continue to paint and to persevere through the process. She told us it might take getting through 50 ugly paintings before the new thing is revealed. We make an unholy mess on the canvas, we take a deep breath, we begin again on the next one.
Through all of this, we have to remember what we are committed to. As intuitive painters, we don't paint to have a series of beautiful, finished pieces (although we do sometimes get them) but to continue to develop the relationship with our work. Each artist involved in this process will have their own devotion, their own reason for coming to the canvas. This commitment will help hold us steady as we await what is to come.
Lately I find myself up against a 50 ugly painting stage with my writing. I continue to do the work...you name it, I'm writing it...but mostly it is a mess. Even trying to get this post together, frustrating the hell out of me. Even so I keep showing up, building this alliance between me, my pens, and my keyboard, and living in hope that it means something new and good is coming.
As in creative practice, so too in my life. I now stand face to face with the high strung girl who has spent most of her life living with one foot out the back door. More and more I feel how, in this moment, Life is calling me to become more deeply rooted and grounded. To stand still even though outcomes are uncertain. My willingness to live in this vulnerability wavers daily, hourly. Because staying when things are messy or frightening, when every annoying or destructive belief I have ever had about myself and the way love works is being brought up for inspection, it has been an unraveling I never could have imagined.
In that moment when you hear a whisper to drip red paint over your beautiful pristine imagery, it takes courage to trust what you hear and stay true to your devotion, even when it might make a mess of everything. Imperfect essays, wild and unruly prayers masquerading as writing class assignments are still part of the work. In choosing to honor my promise to follow Love, to allow the conforming, I lay down the life I have for the one I was created for. Underneath the voices telling me to run for the border, there comes a deeper call. I imagine it as an underground river, true life-giving water, inviting me to stay. To wait upon the emergence of a new thing.