Vulnerable Naked Bare

Now I like to think of these paintings as my journey into the Underworld. 

Then, as I painted them--it was more like torture.

I created these paintings from that place where I completely allowed myself to feel the pain.
That place where I permitted myself To Fall Apart.  
From a real dark space.  Where I dissolved into shadow.

I also like to think that what happened with these paintings was an exorcism.

An exorcism that prompted the most powerful of healing.  
Not something frightening and all Hollywood.
But real.  Sacred.  Holy.
And for this I am so, so grateful. 

But, let me be honest with you please.  It's hard to share these paintings here with you.  

It makes me feel vulnerable, naked, bare.

Plus,  I felt even a hundred times more vulnerable, naked, bare to be painting them in a studio space with other women--strangers who I didn't know.  

Being out in the open with my dark side--my pain--my Big Gaping Wound as I affectionately called it...well, it heightened the whole experience to a level that it actually physically stung.  

Believe me, I wanted to run.  I started mapping my escape plan. Gathering logical reasons why I should bolt.

But then Pixie Campbell said something casually as I was in the other room pouring a cup of tea....she said "It's a privilege to journey the Underworld."

And star dust permeated my heart. 

I digested those words.  Absorbed them. Sucked them down whole like brandy.  

I mean, all of a sudden months and months of hell--looked differently.  
My understanding of it all shifted.  

A miracle took place.  

I no longer was a victim, silly me.
I no longer was a woman exhausted-- trying trying trying to 
pull herself through and out of a dark and dreary landscape.

I was a Priestess.   A Priestess uncovering the Underworld.  

I was walking through fire--burning away all that which no longer served me--
and learning that it was my unwillingness to let those things burn 
that was really creating my own hell.

When I became the Priestess to this Underwold--I started to find my way back.

It took a whole bottle of red paint poured onto the palms of my hands.  
It took primitive, raw claw marks made with tears.
It took striking it with my fists--scraping it with my finger nails.  
It took commanding the poison to seep from my veins. 

It took crystals and drum beats and sage smoke.

It took praying from my heart to return to the light.

It took realizing that nobody was coming to save me, 
even though I was being held in the softest of ways.

I just became guided, truth be told.

Guided by my own passion--
my own desire to process my life through paint---
my willingness to be vulnerable, naked, bare---
to show up as I am 
and love my life for what it truly is:

Imperfectly perfect in every way.


Ardith Goodwin said...

Your honesty and bareness always stirs so much in me girl! You were brave to journey through this, and I value that in you. You were brave to risk yourself and emotion and I value that in you. You were courageous to share your work with them...and us...and I value that in you. But, most of all, you were brave in choosing not to paint a happy face to share your art online but chose to share YOUR TRUE BEAUTIFUL SELF, and it makes me all the more bold to do the same. Thank you...thank you...thank you...(((((big hugs))))

organicyogamom said...

These pieces are amazing - sharing, baring, cleansing, healing beautiful! Congratulations on coming though and doing it on your own without someone else being your savior! You have the power!

~hali said...

this:... " and learning that it was my unwillingness to let those things burn that was really creating my own hell." (((yes)))

this is the golden gateway, over and over and over again, as we journey, isn't it?

seeing you, loving you, sister. it IS a privilege.

Bella Luna said...

Priestess Connie,
Witnessing your journey these past months has been a holy moment for me/us all. Surrendering to your Higher Self, you took a soulful dive into the DEEP, dark fertile of winter (the Journey of Persephone, Queen of the Underworld), and honored another part of your raw, vulnerable and beautiful Self as She emerged into the cleansing brightness of Spring. The way up is often down; and the way out, is often in and through. At least that's what my soul journey is teaching me.

Thank you for sharing the pain of your pain-ting and the blessing it brings to us all!
Love, Maryruthie

Indigene Theresa said...

I have been in that is amazingly dark, but you come out a stark beacon of light and a knowing that will shine with the wisdom of your experience. Always brave, thank you for sharing!

Jo Bloggs! said...

Thank you so much for sharing. Light and love to you.

Rowena said...

Ouch. I have felt that way. But I have a tendency to be more controlled, especially when things are all falling apart. I get silent and constrained and dark. I suppose we're all allowed our own version of hell.

It is hard to let go go things, even when those things are burning you. And then you just cause your own pain.

And not incidentally, my tarot card has been The High Priestess for the last decade or so.

jane louise said...

i stand at your side at the gates of darkness and sing to you as you walk there... <3

mamacita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mamacita said...

Where there's a front, there's a back. Where there's light, there is a shadow. What a privilege and honor to go to the dark mystery with you and join your initiation to priestess of the underworld. Whew. How wonderful to be able to find, accept, acknowledge, and assimilate that space. True love. xo, Marcia in WEst Marin

fearless_fallen_angel said...

wrestling with my own...what to call them...flaws, experiences, characteristics. I find that its hard to let them go, even when they don't serve me. Thank you for sharing your process. It gives me hope.

Danni said...

It is such a beautiful gift to be able to acknowledge that journeying through the underworld is a privilege. Your paintings up above remind me of the Persephone mythology in relation to the underworld. At first she is scared, hurting, feeling trapped and vulnerable - but then she accepts her life and owns it; stepping between her roles as Queen of the dark lands and fertile bringer of Spring with beauty, wisdom and compassion.

Thank you for sharing, for being unapologetic about your emotions and your struggles. This is the sort of thing we women need to share more with each other, so those who suffer in silence know that it's OK to fall apart and to journey to the dark place. Much love to you, Connie. xox

freecreate said...

Wow...heavy stuff, so amazing this journey. How blessed we are to be painters, to have this tool of healing...

love to you

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