This Little Piggy, painting in progress, http://www.carolineallen.com
I’m feeling called to write about an artistic healing I’ve been going through. I’d rather not share something so personal, but the universe is asking me to. I think the idea is that if you see what one artist/writer goes through, perhaps you’ll be better able to understand your own process.
I recently launched an art project called Beauty of the Beast. If you’ve already heard the story, you can skip the next few sentences. I grew up on a subsistence farm butchering animals. I moved recently to rural Oregon, not realizing I would be around farm animals again. I started painting them, and am now partnering with sanctuaries for rescue farm animals to get to know individual beasts, paint their portraits and have a show. It’s been a profoundly cathartic process. Here’s the Kickstarter campaign with more information: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/artofstorytelling/beauty-of-the-beast
Since the launch, my life has been turned upside down. It’s been a mess of emotional turmoil, flailing dreams, alternative realities and “fear storms”, to quote a great phrase by writing client Ellen Newhouse, http://www.ellennewhouse.com.
As a writer and artist, I have soul turmoil sometimes, okay a lot, but haven’t experienced this level of churning since 1994 and then again in 1999. My life changed forever during those times. I went from journalist to artist, from ego to spirit, but to say these were tumultuous times would be an understatement. I lost everything, a marriage, my career as a journalist, my jet-setting European lifestyle, my home, my car. Everything.
I know that my new life is my spirit’s calling. I know I’m on my soul’s path as a writer and artist. I’m so much more content. Hell, in my previous incarnation, I never felt I’d live past 40, and now I see a very long fulfilling life.
Still, the hurricane of change that hit me in the past has created a fear in me. If the universe asks me to do something, I do it. Immediately. UNCLE, I yell up to the skies. Whatever you want, you got. Just don’t make me go through THAT again.
So, what I’ve been thinking lately is HERE we go again! I’m so churned up I can hardly work or think or function. Everything is turning upside down again. Universe, I wail, I’m doing everything you ask! What do you want from me? I shake my fist at the sky.
So, yesterday I decided to sit with all of the current turmoil in serious meditation. I began by doing a visual meditation. I love visual meditations.
I sat, closed my eyes, did breathing exercises. I was taken to a field near where I grew up. There was a slash in the flesh of the soil, a deep throbbing wound. I knew in the visualization to pour white loving light into the wound, and as I did rainbows appeared in the slashed earth, reflections of color, a waterfall of tint and hue. It was beautiful and so full of hope and love and joy.
But there was a small circle of dirt that was too wounded, too terrified to receive the light. Every time I grew near, the land roiled and tremored and flipped and flopped and wouldn’t let me get close to see if I could affect a healing.
I decided to talk to it. What is wrong? What do you need? It turned out this was a part of myself that was terrified of being killed as a child. I grew up butchering furry creatures, on our land as well as wild animals from the forest, chopping off their heads, removing their innards. If my father could kill these sweet creatures, why wouldn’t he kill me? But it was more than that. Even as a grown up, I see perfectly respectable people destroying the earth. Well, I’m the earth. Why wouldn’t they destroy me?
The concept that I was terrified I’d be killed as a child had already been coming up in readings I’d been getting from my favorite metaphysical coaches, including Lucy Pond, http://www.lucypond.com. I already knew on some level I lived my childhood in terror of being murdered. For some reason, I didn’t understand how taking on painting the portraits of rescue farm animals would so deeply trigger this fear. So deeply that night after night I’d have nightmares of being murdered.
Usually, when this level of terror hits me, I pick up and run. I move countries. I quit jobs. I duck and cover and bolt. In the meditation, I was told that of course I’d run. Anyone afraid of being murdered would run. That’s normal.
But that’s not the whole story. I came out of the meditation feeling like I’d really finally gotten to the core of the issue, but I was still roiling inside my psyche. I decided to veg in front of mindless Netflix, to spend a couple of hours just doing nothing but watching a movie. I randomly chose Hit and Miss, a UK series about a transgendered hit-woman. I usually don’t like violent shows, but I chose it anyway.
In one of the first episodes, a boy watches a man on a small farm shoot a cow between the eyes. This was a regular occurrence when I was growing up. He’s about 8 years old, and he’s so traumatized by the event, he can’t eat beef anymore. Then, later at school when the teacher tells the class they have to dissect frogs, the boy objects. “Sir, why do we have to dissect the frogs?”
“To see the inner workings.”
“Sir,” says the boy, putting the exacto knife used for dissecting to his own throat, “then why don’t you dissect me to see my inner workings?” The class and teacher gasp in horror as the boy holds the exacto to his throat. Later the child will come in and steal the tank of frogs, take it to the schoolyard and set the frogs free.
How is it possible that I chose a transgendered hit-woman series to veg out, a series I’d never heard of before, and it would carry the EXACT(o) message of my meditation, the exact lesson that my soul had been churning?
As I sat there in front of the Netflix, I seemed to spontaneously go back into the visual meditation. I was back at that roiling circle of dirt, but this time it was calm. Under the dirt, I found eight-month old baby. I brushed the dirt off of her. She was so fat, so fleshy, so alive, so round. She LOVED the earth. Her love was robust and hearty and full of power. I lifted her into my arms and took her home.
I heard a voice in my ear then: “This side of you that hates to see animals harmed in any way, that hates to see plants and the earth mistreated, that feels utterly devastated and terrified by it, this is a beautiful side of you. Don’t judge this side. Don’t let others judge it. It’s beautiful, so gentle, so pure.”
POP! Finally, the horrible swarming wound seemed to burst, and I felt almost back to normal. I was thinking there was something wrong with me to have this much fear, to be this wound up, to be this wounded. But it wasn’t wrong, it was beautiful. Would I tell that boy in the classroom he was wrong for his abhorrence to killing frogs? Hell no! I was cheering him on.
I’m a writing coach and offer a free initial consultation, http://www.artofstorytellingonline.com