Whenever I start a painting, I have no idea where it will take me. Often it’s just a sense of something…An impulse that wants to be expressed. A sensation or feeling that longs to be acknowledged or felt.
I don’t even know what it is, just this itch in my fingertips that wants to be scratched.
And it’s at this moment that there is an opportunity to either say Yes or No.
We can be willing to explore, to follow its coaxing us out of our mind into our adventurous self, or we can stay in our status quo and make up stories whether this is the ‘right thing to do’, the ‘good enough thing to do’, and fixate on the result. In short: we can stay in the known, in our comfort zone.
But if we are willing to tolerate a little bit of discomfort and willing to not know where things will take us, we actually make space for magic.
Something that most of us are deeply longing for, oftentimes unaware that that’s actually what it is that we feel is missing.
Taking it one step at the time
I want to illustrate the process of trust through the journey of the making of this painting.
Because, when I’m looking at it, I’m in awe at the workings of life!
How did I get here? I had no idea what was coming and yet it happened. Miraculously and beautifully so. That’s why I love it because the creative process itself keeps surprising me.
Taking it one step at a time is the essential practice of trust.
How do you do that?
First, you have to become really present with what is in front of you and your natural response to it. What do you feel? And based on your feeling what do you long for?
A bit of contrast? Ok, no problem let’s just add that.
A bit of structure? Yes, sure, why not.
Trust is really this deep insight that there is no wrong in life.
(Or like my partner recently said: there is no right or wrong, there is only a ride!)
It’s a continuous movement and nothing ever is set in stone. In painting terms, it means: you can always paint over it, add to it, change it, and play with it!
Just like painting, life is very forgiving, it will always keep giving us opportunities to right our ‘wrongs’, which means to come back to balance, come back to harmony with life.
What a sense of freedom it opens up when you know that you can explore and play and just keep adding, layer upon layer upon layer…and that each layer will contribute to your perspective, your experience. Each layer will enrich and deepen your ‘(he)art’.
Accepting frustration as part of the process
And then maybe there comes a moment where frustration kicks in because in spite of all the accepting, trusting you have been doing, it still doesn’t feel satisfying and good.
It still doesn’t feel like you are connected to something bigger. What’s the point of this whole art thing, or ‘life’ thing for that matter, if there is no beauty in it? If there is no love in it?
Wonderful questions, but don’t get stuck in them.
I have come to embrace my frustration. It’s medicine and it takes me in a moment of ‘exasperation’ to the places where I usually wouldn’t go. It makes me take risks. Lean out a little bit more. Do unusual, unexpected things. It’s the energy that catapults me out of my stagnation and into the fresh and the new.
It’s what keeps refining my ideas of love and surrender.
And then…comes a moment when you look at your painting, or life, and you can say, yeah, it’s good enough.
When I got to the point of the painting above, I asked myself: Is it finished? I didn’t know what else wanted to happen, nothing was really moving and most people I checked in with said, that they liked it and yes, indeed, they felt it was probably finished.
Ok, I thought, maybe it is.
But then for two months I kept looking at it and even though I wasn’t inspired to take it further, I also kept feeling that it didn’t touch me. It was nice, ok, but it didn’t have that special ‘something’ that sometimes a piece of art has and that can take you into another dimension.
This is a tricky moment, because, what’s there is already good enough, so anything you add from here might fuck it all up.
If you want it all you have to be willing to lose it all.
And yet, in your heart, you know that you will never be able to look at your creation and be fully satisfied. You will always feel the twinge of not having gone full in. Not having given it your best.
Where in your life do you feel like that?
Trust that little voice of dissatisfaction. Make sure it doesn’t come from a false sense of not good enough, which is a wound of the ego (and in it, nothing will ever be good enough), but from a real feeling in your body, a tug on your heartstrings that there is more for you, and then go for it. Risk it all.
Because even if you ‘fuck’ up, even if you fail and lose, at least you know that you gave your best.
It’s your inner guidance beckoning you towards more of your soul expression.
That moment in the painting process I find the most exhilarating. That’s when I really feel I’m dancing on the razor’s edge, I’m stretching my comfort zone and in the process, I am surrendering my small self to something bigger.
I become a channel. And it’s a feeling of ecstasy. Finally, there is no me, there is only what wants to happen and the divine itself.
How do you know it’s finished?
People ask me this question all the time. If you are supposed to trust your dissatisfaction how do you know you are finished?
The answer is actually really simple: It’s done when you are done.
Because it’s actually not about the outcome on the outside, it’s about where you have been within yourself. The places you went and touched within yourself. There is only that much energy available for it.
I’m likening it to the process of giving birth. When is the baby born? The energy available for the process is gone once the baby is out. You don’t keep pushing after you finished. Simple.
When I look at this finished painting below, of course, my mind could go into the critical self and think: Oh, I should change this a little or that.
But regardless of it, there is nothing in me that wants to touch it again. I’m done, spent, finished. In fact, there is often the feeling of “I don’t even want to look at it for a while!” The umbilical cord is cut, now I want to simply rest from the process of creation.
Can we trust the process and cycles of life?
For me, painting is a spiritual practice. A process in which I become very intimate with myself. Very honest. No one can enter this realm with me. It’s just me and it.
A deeper reflection of my life.
I hope you can find that kind of love and trust for your own process and enjoy all the steps along the way!
Kasia Patzelt works as an Embodiment Coach and is passionate about integrating our spiritual experiences into the here and now of daily life aka how to be truly heart intelligent. She is a writer on Medium and works one-on-one with people online or on the magic island of Ibiza, where she lives. www.kasiapatzelt.com
Image courtesy of Jadson Thomas.